Friday, November 11, 2005

Americans need a holiday like this!

Today is November 11, Veterans Day in America but St. Martin's Day in Germany. The day has Catholic and pagan meaning, but in effect it is the beginning of Carnival celebrations, which kick into overdrive around Lent (think Mardi Gras.)

St. Martin's Day is primarily celebrated in Rhineland area, so I was pleasantly surprised when my office paused at 11:11am this morning to celebrate. The head of the department proudly declared "it's an honor to be a Bonner." My mentor recalled a story of a colleague who used to bring a grill into his office on Nov. 11 and grill for his colleagues! He also starting singing a song about crawling in a trash can and not coming out until it is full on Rosenmontag (the day before Fat Tuesday.) Craziness!! Philadephia has the Mummers Day Parade, but I think America needs a holiday like this!

To see pictures and a live video stream from Cologne, click here.

My first memory of the day is actually from high school. We celebrated by making lanterns and parading around the classroom with glow sticks in the lanterns singing a traditional St Martin's day song (click on the words "St. Martin's Day" above to see the text.)

Have a great weekend everyone!


At 7:11 AM, Anonymous michael said...

I think St. Martin and "Faschingsanfang" are two different things, it's just a coincidnece that they share the same day. But after your post I'm really not shure anymore ;)

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Michael, I think you are right that the origins are different. On one website I visited it said, "St. Martin's day celebrates the end of the agrarian year and the beginning of the harvesting. The second meaning of this day is the end of the period of all souls, that started on November, 1st with Halloween, or All Saints' Day."
I wonder if most Cologners know the difference? As I keep hearing them sing, "Scheiss Egal!"
Thanks for commenting

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like fun to me! The wonderful costumes remind me of the time spent in Freiburg... singing and dancing with Germans. They sure do know how to celebrate! I think you need to have Granny create a pig costume for you so you can join in the fun :)

Love ya and miss ya!!

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous lightstick said...

It is about time I finally starting looking at blogs for information. It definitely gives you a more personal take on the information.

Enjoyed your post.

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