Ich geh mit meiner Laterne und meine Laterne mit mir. I walk with my lantern, and my lantern with me. Those lyrics floated through the night air of Silicon Valley International School (INTL)’s Willows Campus last Friday as the PS/PK and Kindergarten students and their families celebrated St. Martin’s Day. St. Martin’s Day, also called Martinstag or Martinmas, is the funeral day of St. Martin of Tours. St. Martin is celebrated in many regions in Germany on November 11th. St. Martin used to be a soldier, who then decided to give up his sword and dedicate his life to helping people in need. He later became a bishop and became very popular. Children often walk through the streets singing St. Martin's songs and some towns put on a play with a very specific piece of Martin’s life. It is the story about how he meets a beggar on a bitter cold night and cuts his cloak in half to share it with the beggar. The German program faculty presented an enchanting shadow puppet show about this generous act.Students from all three language programs prepared for the event by making lanterns in class, learning traditional German lantern songs and talking about the story of St. Martin, emphasizing the fact that it is important to help and share with others. At the celebration, they joined together in a lantern-lit St. Martin’s Parade around the campus. The event concluded with the children being given Weckmänner pastries, sweet bread rolls shaped into the form of a gingerbread man with raisin eyes, that are customary for the celebration.
Taking inspiration from the story of St. Martin and to promote sharing with others in need, the PTA collected jackets and coats during the parade to donate to 'Stand Up for Kids', Silicon Valley, an organization that strives to end the cycle of youth homelessness.
Dankeschön to all the families who participated in INTL’s St. Martin’s Day parade. We’d like to thank event chair Lennard Hachmann, the German program faculty and to everyone who volunteered at Willows to make this event happen. We hope you and your children had a wonderful St. Martin’s Day!