Akron German Family Society

Akron German Family Society

Thursday, November 12, 2015

St. Martin tradition lives in the memory of a German Family Society member.......

Traditions, legends, and stories come alive when shared.....

Michael Rodesheim shared with me the fond and vivid childhood memories of celebrating St. Martin's Day while he lived in Germany. For many, we may ask what is the history and legend of St. Martin? You will soon learn....  Michael shared how he as a young boy, with his friends, would carry colorful homemade lanterns made of paper throughout the streets of his hometown of Dusseldorf. The candle sand lights within the lanterns would light their way as they went from house to house singing songs and hoping to see the horse that carried the man portraying St. Martin. The fun filled evening included tasting delicious homemade sweets, candies, and baked goods.
Thank you Michael for sharing this tradition!

Please, read below of the legend of St. Martin, his kindness to the poor, and why many today still have a dinner of goose on the evening of St. Martin Day.......

"Lantern, lantern, sun, moon, and stars. . . " This refrain echoes through the autumn streets of Germany every year on November 11. Happy children with colorful, handmade lanterns promenade through the streets, cheerfully singing songs they learned by heart. The candles in the lanterns flicker playfully, bringing a sparkle to the children’s eyes. Brimming with excitement, each child hopes to catch a glimpse of the man dressed in a medieval soldier’s uniform and his proud steed as they lead the procession of children.
St. Martin was born Martinus the son of a Roman military tribune in Savaria, in what is now Hungary, in 316/317 A.D. and joined the Roman army as a youth. At the age of 18 he was baptized and in 371 became the third bishop of Tours, a city in France. He performed missionary work and helped the poor and ostracized.

Legend has it that at the gates of Amiens Martin met a poor, scantily clothed beggar, who asked him for help from the freezing cold. But Martin had nothing with him other than his military cloak, so he decided to share it with the man. With one stroke, he split his warm cloak in two and gave one half to the man, who was deeply grateful. After performing this act of generosity, Martin left the military service and had himself baptized a Christian so he could help people in need and value love greater than force.
Yet this act of mercy is not the only story about St. Martin still told today. There is also another legend about how he was named bishop. Being a modest man, he did not feel himself worthy to become bishop, so he hid in a stable filled with geese. The squawking of the geese was so loud that the townspeople found him and selected him as the new bishop.
The tradition of the St. Martin’s goose, which is typically served on the evening of St. Martin’s feast day following the procession of lanterns, most likely evolved from this legend. However, in many locales this custom has now been replaced by the serving of mulled wine, hot cocoa, and "Weckmänner" – baked goods in the shape of a man holding a clay pipe in his mouth. After the long procession of lanterns in the cool autumn air, this repast warms the soul and fills an empty stomach.

To this day, the origin of the much-loved procession of lanterns is still unclear. To some, however, it is a substitute for the St. Martin bonfire, which is still lit in a few cities and villages throughout Europe. It formerly symbolized the light that holiness brings to the darkness, just as St. Martin brought a flicker of hope to the lives of the poor through his good deeds. Even though the tradition of the large, crackling fire is gradually being lost, the procession of lanterns is still a delightful, practiced custom. Both young and old enjoy seeing the children lighting up the darkened streets with their lanterns and singing: "Up and down the streets, again the lanterns illuminate: red, yellow, green, blue, dear Martin come and look!"
Written by Denise Kotulla. Translation: German Embassy

© Germany.info

 While each year more and more families are celebrating Halloween in Germany, the big fall tradition for children is still the St. Martin's Day lantern procession. It is primarily a religious tradition. There are some similarities to Halloween―children are rewarded for their singing and their homemade paper lanterns with candy, money and other treats. But you won't see any gruesome costumes or spooky tricks in St. Martin's Day processions, just kids bundled up against the chilly November night.  

Formed out of sweet yeast dough, this man goes by many names in Germany— Weckmann, Nikolaus, Stutenkerl, among others—and is a popular treat for either St. Martin’s Day on November 11, or St. Nicholas Day on December 6.

Please, see the link below that included information for this blog

St. Martin and German Missions in the US

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Come to our Grape-Wine Fest on Sat. Nov. 14th.......Akron German Family Society

We know that you will want to be a part of Traubenfest 2015, after seeing last years pictures!

This event is "perfect" for children of all ages! Why?....Because, the children, and adults, try to grab bags of toys, fruit, and other prizes hanging from the lattice over the dance floor. The Youth Group members serve as the "police" to catch those stealing the hanging gifts. When caught, the person goes "behind bars" in the side jail....in hopes of being bailed out with a few dollars. The "Bail Money" that is raised will benefit the Youth Group trip to Germany during the Summer of 2016.
You are sure to enjoy the delicious homemade meal of swiss steak, baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and rolls! A delicious assortment of desserts will also be available. Entertainment and music for an evening of dancing will be provided by Edelweiss Combo.

Call in your reservations now to attend Traubenfest or "Grape-Wine Fest" on Saturday, November 14th at 6 pm.
For this members only event, the German Family Society hall will be decorated with a fantastic winery theme. Enjoy this special evening as you walk among grape vines, lattice, and the sounds of Germany with a live band.
Savor cheese and cracker appetizers while sampling an array of well chosen wines.

Reservations are required prior to Monday November 9th, by calling Mrs. Renate Moellmann at 330-633-3949. If you are unable to attend, please call and give notice so that others may be added.