we had our annual lantern walk on november 11, martinmas. all the children had made lanters at arrow the week before, or at home with their families...we started a little later than last year and it was pretty dark!
but, luckily, we had our lanterns. this was the second year that we had walked around our neighborhood by candelight and even some of our neighbors put out little candles to welcome the children- thank you, cobbham neighbors!
Arrow first learned about the Lantern Walk from Madrona Weinges and her family. Madrona used to lead our Waldorf Morning Garden program, and through her we learned how special these festivals and events can be for our little children.
here are some words from madrona, about the origins of the lantern walk:
The roots of Lantern Walks stretch to a tale related to the festival of Martinmas, celebrated in Northern Europe. In many European cities the children gather in the streets and parks with lanterns aglow in early November, just as the days are growing darker, to celebrate. St. Martin was a great warrior whom, as it is told, rode out one dark night with his lantern and along his path encountered a beggar on the side of the road. The beggar was near death and freezing; St. Martin lifted his sword and his men thought surely he would kill the beggar. Instead, he used his sword to cut his own cloak in half, sharing it with the beggar and saving his life.
The Lantern Walk goes beyond this tale to encompass even larger themes. As the light of the sun dwindles and winter draws near, the lighting of our lanterns symbolizes both the change in seasons from a more outward to a more inward mood as well as the need to carry light "within"; not just within our lanterns, but within our hearts. The mood of sharing and benevolence as expressed in the Martin stories still lives in the festival, yet the mood of the season dominates.
Above all else, these festivals re-connect our children to their communities and to their world. As our children grow in a life full of reverence, connection, and meaning, we know that they will mature into the kind of adults who will tend and care for, and heal, the planet and all of its communities.
The Sunlight fast is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling
Its spark shines bright in darkest night...
Dear lantern guide me with your light.
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if you would like to make a lantern at home with your children, here are directions:
- a mason jar
- colorful tissue paper (in shades of red, orange, and gold)
- kraft or elmer's glue
- a brush(for painting on the glue)
- some twine or yarn
- and, you may want some sort of disposable glove (it will be sticky...)
- tear the tissue paper into strips
- put some glue on your brush and begin to lay the strips of tissue over on the sides of your jar and paint the glue on top. you will be layering different strips on top of each other. you will eventually cover the entire jar with strips so that it sort-of looks like stained glass.
- sit the jar aside to dry overnight
- make a handle for carrying your jar by tying twine or a ribbon handle to the top of the jar, under the rim. make the handle long enough to keep the hand away from the top of the jar, but still easy for a little one to carry.
if you are feeling more adventurous, here are directions for a more advanced lantern:
a few of us made these the sunday before the walk: