Three years ago, I started a blog called A Storytelling of Crows, specifically to record the Martinmas songs my daughter’s kindergarten teacher wanted the adults to learn for our annual lantern walk on the Feast of St. Martin. The tradition was to gather at the school around a bonfire, eat pumpkin bread, drink warm cider (apple or pear), and then proceed into the woods with the lit paper-mache lanterns the children had made during school. Martinmas was a way to greet the cold winds and shorter days with light and joyful song. The teacher gave us sheet music with lyrics to learn the songs. However, we had to memorize the songs, as it would have been too hard to read lyrics by lantern light.
I asked my daughter’s teacher if she would sing the songs for me to record on my video camera. I promised that no one would see her, and used still graphics for the visual. You may hear all of the songs here (including one my daughter sang), as well as watch a little video of the lantern walk I took the following year. The songs are “I Go Outside with My Lantern,” “Glimmer, Lantern, Glimmer,” and “My Lantern! My Lantern!” Do you know more ? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
The photo you see to the left is an autumn scene I took last year of my dolls with The Enchanted Cupboard‘s trees and Mamakopp‘s little wooden fire. The lantern carrier is in the foreground dressed in green. While we never had a guitar-player at our Martinmas gatherings, I think a firelight gathering is complete when one has a guitar-player in the midst (i.e. the orange doll with the red guitar in the back).
Farida Dowler lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and sews wool felt dolls for Alkelda, her online Etsy shop. She has participated in four lantern walks. Only one of them was not rainy.