the tradition of Martinmas
Martinmas was a new festival for us last year. We read about it and lit some candles and that was as far as we delved into it's meaning as we were so focused on learning to parent our then 3 month old girl.
This year, however, we truly celebrated. We painted, oiled and folded lanterns, shared our food, and made plans for lantern walks in the years to come. In the future, part of our celebration will be the tradition of a hand knitted (by me) gift for Chloe. I first fell in love with this festival years ago when a friend of mine told me about her daughter's school's celebration. The children made their lanterns in the week prior to the festival and then gathered on the evening of Martinmas and walked, lanterns in hand, singing into the woods. They gathered around a campfire singing together before heading home to snuggle in their beds. To me, it sounded utterly magical (I seem to mention that word, magic, a lot on this blog, don't I). Anyhow, looking back I realize how much that story impressed on me and was the beginning, really, of my appreciation for so many elements of Waldorf education and philosophy.
Martinmas is a beautiful reminder to do good by your neighbour, to help those in need, and to remember the light inside us all as the winter darkness folds in around us. Now that Chloe is 15 months old, Martinmas is a reminder to throw a little kindling towards my own light, one that has been giving so much (willingly, humbly, and with love and gratitude) to my daughter. It is a reminder that in order for her light to shine bright into the world, so must mine. This is such an important thing to remember, isn't it, as mothers? We must nurture ourselves in order to nurture those and everything we love. And, sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of knitting here and there, some cutting of fabric, or, dare I say it, some reality tv!
Happy Martinmas friends! May your light, both in your lanterns and in your being, shine bright against the chill in the air and into the heart of winter.