Celebrating Martinmas- The Feast Day Of St. Martin

The Feast day of St. Martin of Tours happens each year on November 11, and if often referred to as “Martinmas”. I don’t know about you, but I just love when these feast days have their own name!  This is a really big celebration in many areas of the world, especially Germany! Horseshoe shaped cakes are not the only tradition to celebrate this beautiful feast day, so let’s take a look today at celebrating Martinmas- the feast day of St. Martin! Also, you can find all of my November feast day resources here.

St. Martin of Tours “Cheat Sheet”

As always, it’s a lot easier to plan your celebrating when you already know about the Saint. Here are some highlights about St. Martin of Tours. 

  • born in Hungary
  • patron Saint of soldiers
  • cut his own garment in half and gave half to a beggar
  • big celebrations for this feast day in Germany

Basic Martinmas traditions cheat sheet:

  • craft lanterns
  • process with lanterns while singing
  • have a bonfire
  • feast on delicious foods
  • celebrate with sweets
  • make horseshoe cookies

There are so many traditions associated with this day that we are going to break them into pieces. 

Martinmas Celebrations In Germany

This is a very excellent video explaining the traditions and celebrations of this important day in Germany. I totally suggest you watching this video- she does an amazing job of delivering a lot of information in a quick and captivating format. 

 

Martinmas Songs

Processing with your lanterns and singing songs is the main tradition of this day! It was a bit tricky to find some of these songs in English (as most of the resources are in German) but here’s what I found for y’all.

Here’s an easy to sing version of a lantern song for Martinmas.

 

And she sings another one here. Songs are definitely big for this celebration!

 

Beautiful Martinmas Songs Plus Lyrics In English

Scroll to the bottom of this post and there are several St. Martin day lantern songs with lyrics and absolutely beautiful sound recordings to go with them! 

St. Martin Of Tours’ Story Video For Kids

This video goes over the highlights of his story in just 1 minute with legos! This would be a great watch for kids before starting your celebrations and it’s in English.

 

St. Martin Videos With Some German

There is also an animated cartoon video that tells the story of St. Martin in the form of a song. This one is in German, but it could be a fun little watch with your kids and it’s also pretty easy to understand what’s going on from the video itself. I also think it’s awesome to illustrate to kids how Catholicism unites us across the world!

 

If you would like to learn some German words and phrases that relate to this day, check out this video! She does a great job and also shares some traditions and tid bits about this celebration in Germany.

 

You can also find a collection of German songs for kids paired with coloring pages including lyrics here. You can tell which ones are for Martinmas based on the pictures. Click the play button above each page to hear the song and click the picture to print your own coloring page and lyrics. 😉 There are some St. Nicholas songs here as well!

Durch die Straßen auf und nieder

Traditional Martinmas Food

Traditionally, Martinmas was a day of great feasting! Some of the most popular foods served were goose, wine, small cakes, meats, figs, fruits, nuts, and puddings. You can read more about these old feasting traditions of Martinmas here, and especially about the traditional horseshoe cookies!

You could try serving:

  • wine or sparkling grape juice
  • grapes
  • fig newtons
  • chicken in place of goose
  • a trail mix with nuts and dried fruits (You can read about bags of St. Martin here)
  • and of course… horseshoe cookies!

 

A common symbol for St. Martin is a horse, and horseshoe cookies
are traditional for this day! I love these from Every Last Cookie
because they’re dusted with powdered sugar and he was know for
riding in the snow. Find the recipe here.

 

Growing With My Girls made these horseshoe cookies
along with other crafts and activities.

Crafting Martinmas Lanterns With Kids

This is the most focal part of this feast day celebration. Each child makes their own lantern, then processes in the streets with it lit while singing one of the songs. It reminds us that we are all a light in the world just like St. Martin was, bringing light to the life of the street beggar. 
Wee Little Miracles has a free printable St. Martin lantern.
This is so cute and perfect for kids!
 
This is great for all ages!!!
This Little Light of Mine Craft
 
where you poke holes in foil to make your designs.
 

Inside My Domestic Church also has some ideas
for Crafting Martinmas Lanterns.

By Sun and Candlelight crafted these Glass Lanterns
to celebrate this feast day.

Help The Needy

All of these traditions are based on the fact that St. Martin cut his cloak in 2, and gave it to a poor cold beggar. It seems to me that the perfect way to celebrate this feast would be to help the needy. Participating in a coat drive or taking your unneeded coats to a local shelter would be a perfect fit for this day!
  • Donate clothes to the needy
  • Have a coat drive

Share what you have!

I also love how in his story he cuts his cloak in half to share it with the beggar. Why not try having your kids take something like a slice of cake and cut it in half to share with their sibling? What else do we have that we could share some of. Try making a list of more things we could share with others! 

St. Martin of Tours Picture Books For Kids

Links may be affiliates, which means I earn a small commission if you click through and purchase them at no extra cost to you.

When you’re starting to teach your kids about the lives of the Saints, I suggest starting with a Saint picture book treasury that includes a lot of short stories you can read together. This will give you a good starting place and then you can add to your library of Saint books over the years. I think this Picture Book Of Saints is a good beginning Saint book for Catholic families. I will mark the Saints below that have stories from this book.

This Snow On Martinmas picture book for kids looks charming!

All Time Heroes has a picture book titled The Life of St. Martin of Tours.

The Sword And The Cape is no doubt a children’s book about St. Martin’s famous story of giving!

St. Martin Of Tours Crafts

Our family loves loves loves collecting Saint peg dolls! If you want to add a St. Martin of Tours to your collection, I imagine the printable soldiers from my Printable Resurrection Set would work nicely! You just paint the head and the body decoupages onto the peg. 

Since he’s also so heavily associated with riding a horse, you might want to check out my free printable horse peg doll patterns. Adding some ridable animals to your peg doll collection makes them all the more fun!

Free St. Martin Of Tours Printables For Kids

You can find all of my resources for living the liturgical year in November here.

Comments

  1. Thank you for including me in your list!

    ~Angela

  2. Charli and me says

    What wonderful ideas you have shown. Oh how I wish my children were little again. I recently found your beautiful and inspiring blog. I just love it! Come and visit Charli and Me some time :>)

  3. Anne Marie says

    Lacy…I just want you to know that I am such a dedicated follower and love all of what you are doing!! thank you!!
    xo+blessings,
    anne marie

  4. This is such an informative and creative post about Martinmas. We are celebrating at our home in Ireland too. Enjoy the festivities! ✨

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