"The Laterne (Lah-tare-nah) Fest is in honor of St. Martin (Mar-teen), a soldier in the Roman army. One very cold day, as he was riding through the gates of a town, Martin saw a beggar shivering with cold as he was wearing only a few clothes. As Martin had no money or food to offer the poor man, he took his thick cloak and cut it into two, giving one half to the man. Some of the poor children of the town witnessed the event and ran back with their lanterns to tell the townspeople. This is how the tradition of a children's processional of lanterns began- in honor of St. Martin and his great act of charity." -Loralee

St. Martin - German Children's Songs - Germany - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

You can hear St. Martin online.

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Here's a translation by Loralee:

St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin
Rode through wind and snow,
His horse carried him so quick-ly on
In comfort and warmth through the cold he did go
His thick cloak around him tight-ly drawn.

In the cold snow, in the cold snow,
In the cold snow, there sat a poor old man
He wore only rags and called with choked breath,
"Oh help me please - please if you can
Or the bitter frost will mean my death."

St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin
Reined his horse to his side
It stood quietly by as if it knew
How with his sword, St. Martin would divide
His warm, thick cloak right in-to two.

St. Martin, St. Martin,
Gave one half to the man to put on
The grateful man turned, but before he spoke
Noble St. Martin had already gone
Wearing his half of the div-id-ed cloak.

Saint Martin lay down quietly
And then the Lord appeared in his dream.
The latter talked: "I thank you, you riderman,
For what you did to me"

Many thanks to Loralee Jo Kurzius for sharing this translation.

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Loralee Jo Kurzius for contributing this song and for describing the St. Martin's Festival. 1st translation by Lisa Yannucci.

Vielen Dank!

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