November 11 is Sint Maarten

November 11 is Sint Maarten

Last night, Dutch streets were lit up by hundreds of children carrying lamps, in search of candy. November 11 is Sint Maarten, or Saint Martin’s Day. Officially, it’s the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, a Bishop who was a patron of the poor. One of his more famous acts was cutting his cloak in half and giving it to a beggar.

Nowadays, it is a day for children – often dressed up as little bishops, Spiderman or whatever tickles their fancy – to go door to door with their hand-crafted lanterns and sing silly songs in exchange for candy. I guess it’s the Dutch equivalent to Halloween, except without the spooky background story.

Last year, my son dressed up as one of Santa’s Helpers. His costume went well with his orange leaf-shaped lamp! This year, he couldn’t be bothered to dress up. He still got candy and (at his age) that’s all that matters 🙂

Normally, we would have gone door-to-door in our neighborhood. However our local shopping street organized a celebration, so we decided to check that out instead. What a fun time! Most of our neighbors were there and not home, so we made the right choice. Thanks to a generous café owner handing out gluhwein to the parents, we all had a great time. After a two-hour marathon, my son’s candy bag was as full as his feet were tired. But, as most of us know, there is nothing more satisfying than returning home with an ample supply of well-earned treats.

It was extremely busy. At most shops, children had to wait their turn to get inside and sing!

How about you? What are you celebrating this month?

 

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