A Tradition Through Generations
St Martin Lantern Parade – A Tradition Through Generations
Can we assume that St. Martin (350 A.D.) still fits into today’s time? As teachers we are always faced with the question whether “traditions oblige” and so we tell the students and parents the story of St. Martin and the beggar, when we came together on November 11th in Old World Village, Huntington Beach, CA, for the St. Martin lantern parade:
“It was cold that day. Mighty cold. The people preferred to stay in their houses, hardly anyone dared go out into the street. The wind was icy, it was snowing, and it was like it would never warm up again. But one was on the street that day, one who had no roof over his head, a beggar.
With his teeth clattering and half frozen, he squatted huddled together at the city gate. He had nothing clever to put on, he was almost naked. He whimpered from the cold. But another one was on the road that day. Martin was called the Man, a soldier on horseback. Quick as the wind he rode with a blowing cloak through the deserted streets. Still through the city gate and he would be at home.
But – what was that? Martin stopped the horse to trot more slowly. That was but – indeed! Somebody was sitting there. A man. Martin looked at him. Hardly he was wearing. And how he trembled with sheer cold. Next to him remained the horse.
Martin didn’t think long. Without further ado he took off his coat, pulled out his sword and divided with it the cloak in the middle. He gave half of his coat to the beggar, and even before he knew what happened to him, Martin galloped away too.
The beggar gratefully wrapped himself in the half of his coat. How warm it was and how good it was. For a long time, he looked after Martin.”
During the week we had a pre-relief session about St. Martin in order to illustrate the story to the students and how they can deal with a beggar today:
“Anyone can be a beggar, beggars don’t just sit at the roadside. Beggars are sometimes among us – at school, in the family, in our free time, in the neighborhood; because everyone sometimes needs something that might be missing.
Sample: It is Tim who forgot his lunch at home. With a growling stomach he looks at Max, who is about to bite into his ham sandwich. Max notices that Tim is watching him. Without further ado he divides his bread and gives Tim half.
“What is divided here – how is a boy helped?”
Martin had a big heart for others.
“How can you help others or what can you share with others?
“Sometimes, I need help,
sometimes I can’t do it alone,
I’ll beg for advice then, or for a hand,
or around feet that accompany me.
Sometimes, I’m a beggar too.”