Every year in fall around November 10th or 11th little kids in Germany go out on the streets at dusk holding self-made little lanterns and singing songs for the traditional Laternenlauf (lantern walk). In Catholic regions it is also called a St.Martin’s-Umzug as it happens on November 11th which is St.Martin’s day to honor the saint, who cut his coat in half and gave it to a freezing beggar to save him. Some Protestant parts of the country celebrate on November 10th to honor their own Martin as that day is Luther’s birthday. And also kids who are neither Catholic nor Protestant enjoy preparing their lanterns and take them out for an evening walk on a fall day when the dark time of the year is starting. There are quite a few well known Laternenlieder (lantern songs) that are sung on the walk often accompanied by a few musicians or a small marching band. And although it’s not part of the tradition usually people meet after the walk in the November weather that can be as rainy and cold in Germany as in Portland and enjoy some good food and warming drinks.
In the spirit of this tradition Portland Kinderschule held its annual Laternwalk on November 12th this year at Peninsula Park. The kids had built beautiful lanterns at school and practised the traditional songs with the teachers and the parents had prepared a potluck dinner (including homemade German-style Goulash). All kids were there and even a few alumni showed up. The good weather this time allowed for a longer walk than last years downpour and everyone had a good time.