Here’s the legend of St. Martin and his donkey from the area of Dunkerque, France…
St. Martin was journeying one very dark night with his donkey. The animal took off into the dunes. The children in the town were given lanterns to help find St. Martin’s donkey. They quickly found it. They paraded back with the donkey and their lanterns in a festive mood. To thank them, St. Martin turned the donkey’s droppings into rolls, to everyone’s delight! Nowadays, around St. Martin’s day you can find volaerens (special buns named after the word for droppings in Flemish) in bakeries all around Dunkerque.
Beets are also a symbol of this day celebrating the end of the harvest season.
There’s a competition about who can make the best lantern or make the nicest engraving out of a beet. The children also march around with lanterns on the night of St. Martin’s Day and they’re given volaerens. They sing songs too! Here’s one of the most popular songs they sing in French with the English translation below…
Saint Martin boit du vin
Saint Martin boit du vin
Dans la rue des capucins.
Il a bu la goutte.
Il l’a pas payée
On l’a mis à la porte
Avec un coup d’balai
Here’s an English translation, thanks to Monique Palomares…
St. Martin’s Drinking Wine
St Martin’s drinking wine,
In Capucins Street,
He drank some brandy,
Didn’t pay for it,
They threw him out
With the stroke of a broom.
Monique later pointed out, “It’s ’cause of St. Martin that we call donkeys Martin in France.”
My entry about The History and Traditions of St. Martin’s Day.
Here are two songs children sing in Germany for St. Martin’s Day, each in German and with an English translation.
Belgian songs sung on St. Martin’s Day, plus about how St. Martin’s Day is like Christmas in parts of Belgium.
Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World France page for more French children’s songs with their English translations and…
Mama Lisa’s World en français for children’s songs around the world with their French translations.
This article was posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2005 at 3:12 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, France, French, French Kids Songs, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Saint Martin boit du vin, St. Martin's Day, St. Martin's Day Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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