Another Martinmas Come and Gone - Livin' the Good Life
Nov. 20th, 2009
11:50 am - Another Martinmas Come and Gone
This year our Martinmas celebration was the best ever! I say that because it went off extra-smoothly and had a nice companionable feel to it. There were 40+ people here, many of them small children, and it was nothing but peaceful. (I like to think that it was because all those moms and dads were practising attachment parenting, giving their children calm, focused, positive attention and guidance, so no little one had to act up just to get noticed.) The soups were delicious, as usual. And thanks to Ely's filming and Maya's editing, I've got little snippets of the things we did.
As my readers remember, Saint Martin was the patron saint of the poor, so we eat a "poor man's meal" of soup and bread, bring lanterns to symbolize the Christ within and walk out into the dark night with nothing but each other to keep us company and Christ to guide us through the dark times ahead. It's a European holiday (Nov. 11), so few people in our country know about it, much less celebrate it. It's also a time to go through your closets and donate to the poor.
Explanations for the video below:
First, all the families gathered around the table and I lit a candle and said a blessing. Then we all helped ourselves to a variety of homemade soups and breads. Maya's rye bread was a big hit! I couldn't resist putting in the clip capturing one of the two year olds un-self-consciously licking soup off the table. Priceless! Then her sister announces my puppet show. There are little pieces of the show, and right in the middle of it all, a little two year old boy walks up to me and says, "Darlene, what are you doing?" I almost lost it, it was so funny! And then a three year old girl in the audience says sagely, as if to pardon him, "He's just a baby." You'll hear it if you listen close. The point of the puppet show I do every single year is to act out the paving of the way for the coming of the Christ child through the world of nature... the flowers, butterflies and birds... with the sun and the fire symbolizing Christ's light coming to a cold, dark world. It's all very beautiful. After that, we gathered our homemade lanterns, practised the traditional Martinmas songs, got our coats on and went out into the very crisp, night air to file in procession down our driveway. The millions of stars were crystal clear in the inky, black sky giving us a graphic sense of the vastness of the heavens. It was so dark that I could NOT see the driveway. That's the first time in 20 years that I had a hard time staying on the road! But, that didn't seem to daunt anyone, as we had our little lanterns and each other to keep us on track. (You'll see on the video how VERY dark it was.) I especially enjoyed having Ely and Christina, and Ben and Rebecca here. Steve carefully tended the campfire the whole evening, and many brave souls sat round the fire warming their hands, eating hot soup, and visiting amiably.
As everyone gathered their pots and bowls and spoons, bundled their children up, and filed out the front door to go home, I remembered why I do this every year. It's a tradition in our community of friends, and we all keep coming back for more because it's just plain satisfying.