Two German Lantern Songs, with a midi, for St. Martin’s Day

On St. Martin’s Day in Germany, November 11th, children parade at night carrying lanterns. Sometimes the parade ends with a bonfire. Kids often go door to door caroling and receiving treats or money. People also eat goose and Wechmann (a sweet bread in the shape of a gingerbread man).

Here are two songs children sing in Germany for St. Martin’s Day, each in German and with an English translation…

Laterne, Laterne

Laterne, Laterne
Sonne, Mond und Sterne
Brenne auf, mein Licht,
Brenne auf, mein Licht
Aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht.

Here’s the English translation for Laterne, Laterne…

Lantern, Lantern

Lantern, Lantern,
Sun, moon and stars,
Burn, my light,
Burn, my light,
But not only the light of my dear lantern.

The midi music for Laterne, Laterne

Here’s another German Lantern Song for St. Martin’s Day.

Ich geh mit meiner Laterne

Ich geh mit meiner Laterne
Und meine Laterne mit mir.
Dort oben leuchten die Sterne
Und unten leuchten wir.
Mein Licht ist aus,
Ich geh nach Haus,
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum

Here’s the English translation of Ich geh mit meiner Laterne

I Walk with My Lantern

I walk with my lantern,
And my lantern with me.
There above, the stars shine,
And we shine here below.
My light is off,
I go home,
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

Many thanks to Ulrike Bernhard for contributing this song, to Maguy Cabrol and Monique Palomares for the translation from German and to Monique Palomares for creating the midi music . Vielen Dank!

My entry about The History and Traditions of St. Martin’s Day.

A legend and a song about St. Martin in Northern France

Belgian songs sung on St. Martin’s Day, plus about how St. Martin’s Day is like Christmas in parts of Belgium.

And here’s a Recipe for Wechmann (Gingerbread Man Bread).

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s German page for more German children’s songs with their English translations


The Mama Lisa’s World en français German page for German Kids’ Songs with their French Translations

This article was posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2005 at 11:18 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, German, German Children's Songs, Germany, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Ich geh mit meiner Laterne - I Walk with My Lantern, Languages, Laterne, Laterne - Lantern, Lantern, Midis, Recordings of Songs, 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.

14 Responses to “Two German Lantern Songs, with a midi, for St. Martin’s Day”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Mrs. B. sent me an alternate translation for “Laterne, Laterne”.
    Here’s what she wrote (in German and with an English translation) followed by her English translation of “Laterne, Laterne”…

    Als ich zuerst hier in Amerika ankam, konnte ich einfach nicht glauben, das wir hier keinen Laternenzug hatten!
    Wir wollten aber, das man das nette Liedchen hier auch verstand, somit hatte ich dann an einer Uebersetzung gearbeitet. Wir benutzen nun eine Uebersetzung des Liedes “Laderne, Laterne”. Es kann sogar mit der selben Melodie gesungen werden und es reimt!

    In English… After I arrived here in America, I couldn’t believe that the tradition of the Lantern Walk wasn’t celebrated. I wanted to make certain that this nice little song was understood. Here is a translation of “Lantern, Lantern”. You can even sing it to the same melody as the original!

    Here it is:

    Little Lantern, Little Lantern
    The sun, the moon , and twinkle stars
    Bu-urn bright, my light
    Bu-urn bright, my light
    But please not my little lantern tonight

    Ms. B.

  2. Whitney Galbraith Says:

    I am interested in purchasing some lantern lights for my children since we are no longer in Germany but wish to make some lanterns. Do you happen to know anywhere on-line I can buy them?

  3. Lisa Says:

    Sorry I don’t – does anyone else know where you can buy lantern lights online? Which country do you want them shipped to?


  4. Bettina Says:

    There is an online store called just google it, they have stuff like the lanterns and also the rods and Schultueten and other neat stuff from Germany. Bettina

  5. Liz Says:

    In 1957 I went to Hamburg with my mum. We walked around the parks and the red squirrels were everywhere. We had spent three months in the bombed spaces, during the summer months; a bomb went off during the time we were there, but my sisters and I had our lanterns. In that year I learned the Lanterne song and it has remained with me ever since.

    I am now 58 and every Xmas I light up my lanterns, but I never knew it was for St. Martins day, I only knew that I walked the streets with my mum and we sang our hearts out. And the red squirrels watched on.

    Lixxie xx

  6. Walter Fobes Says:

    In the Rhineland we sang, going in procession and carrying lanterns, the St. Martin’s Song that has many stanzas. Here is a rough translation of the first one:

    “Saint Martin, Saint Martin,
    Saint Martin rode through snow and wind,
    His steed carrying him with speed;
    Saint Martin rode not doing harm,
    His cloak him covering good and warm.

    In the snowe there sat a poor man,
    Wore rags. not clothes;
    Please help me in my distress,
    he said,
    Or bitter cold will be my death.

  7. Josefine Koehn-Haskins Says:

    Here are some ideas of how to make a lantern yourself:

  8. Josefine Koehn-Haskins Says:

    Here are some ideas of how to make your own lantern plus translations of German lantern songs

  9. Antje Sperling Says:

    I have a nice translation of the german lantern song “Ich gehe mit meiner Laterne”. It goes nicely along with the melody. Here it is:
    I’m going with my little lantern
    And my little lantern with me.
    And up in the sky the stars shine
    And down below are we.
    I carry my light through the darkest night
    labimmel, labammel, labumm.

  10. Lisa Says:

    We asked Christina from Germany about the lanterns and here’s what she replied:

    “As for the lanterns, there are two types that exist: there are lanterns perfectly made (i.e. manufactured), but we also tinker with the kids to make pretty lanterns. What matters most is to find a safe way so that the lantern doesn’t burn the kid or go on fire because there IS a candle inside.”

  11. Erika Says:

    Do you have a midi file for the second song you listed?

  12. LvB Says:

    The English translation you list first is correct. The other two fanciful and inventive translations are NOT correct. The text says, ‘Mein Licht ist aus’, which is My light (my candle) is out. The original St. Martin’s lanterns use votive candles which do not last that long. This is, afterall, for small children. They cannot be walking around that long anyway and it has to be light enough for them to carry.

  13. Marleen Says:

    We translate the laterne song ending like this
    (I’m going…
    My lantern is going…
    Up in the sky…
    And down below..)
    My little light, you shine so bright
    Please help me to find my way in the night
    My little light, you shine so bright,
    Please help me to find my waaaaay

  14. Marleen Says:

    Also, in the Netherlands where I grew up, we sang:

    11 November is de dag
    Dat mijn lichtje
    Dat mijn lichtje

    11 November is de dag
    Dat mijn lichtje
    branden mag

    Which translates to:
    11 November is the day
    that my little light
    That my little light

    11 November is the day
    that my little light
    May burn

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