Friday, November 19, 2010

Still here


Poor blog.  I feel like I haven't sat down in over a month.  That's not the hard truth, but it's pretty close.  From the moment I wake up in the morning, I am running to catch up.  There just doesn't seem to be enough time lately.  I may not have been actively blogging, but I'm still here.  Somewhere.

Both Halloween and Martinmas came and went since my last post.  I'm still shaking my head over how that happened.  We had a lovely time on both accounts.  We felt blessed to spend Halloween with sweet friends, and the kids were delighted to trick-or-treat a few houses-- their first real Halloween since we left the states.  Martinmas was spent at home, trekking through the forest with three local families, singing, sitting around the fire, and sharing a meal on our back porch.


I've been sort of reflecting on the Martinmas celebrations gone by, when we were just one family celebrating on our own... first with the two children, and then with all three.  Like any tradition, it has definitely changed over the years, especially after moving to Europe.

It's an interesting celebration in Switzerland.  Our first year here we didn't celebrate it.  Last year we celebrated it three times, in two languages.  This year I finally figured out what the locals are doing, which isn't what we're doing at all.  That's actually the extent of my understanding... ha.  The Steiner school families celebrate it as one with Martinmas, but the regular folks, they just carve their turnip lanterns and sing songs without all the St. Martin references.  At least some of them sing.  In Switzerland traditions seem to change every few kilometers, so you never know what to expect.

This would explain why my girls seemed to know the songs better than some of the neighbors.  And it also explains why some of the neighbors don't bother with the singing at all.  The point for them is to carve the lantern and go for a walk, period.  It's more like a party of sorts than the reverential thing we had been celebrating in the past.  Both ways are kind of nice, and at the end we dissolved into singing in English anyway.



A few days later we managed to visit Richterswil, a small village near Zurich, where the town goes totally nuts and decorates the whole town with turnip lanterns.  They call it Räbechilbi," and it was amazing!  But it also wasn't overtly reverential.  There was a parade with the strangest sorts of turnip pictures (imagine giant pictures where all the white parts were filled with burning turnips).  The local kindergartners walked with their lanterns as part of the parade, but no one was singing.  Instead they had marching bands playing tunes like "Smoke on the Water" and something that sounded suspiciously like "You're a Grand Ole Flag."  (I'm sure it wasn't... but it was that similar!)

The streets were jam-packed with people.  There were a few vendors selling odd items, like purse holders-- something you would apparently use in a restaurant to hang your purse.  There were also the typical würst, glühwein (hot mulled wine), and chestnut stands, but they also sold hot orange punch (alcoholic and non).  Hot punch? That was new for me.  But seeing all the lanterns everywhere... that was amazing.

I love that towns like this exist in the world.  It wasn't our typical Waldorfy Martinmas, but seeing a community come together like this filled me with a different kind of hope.


P.S. New camera.  Still getting the hang of it.

13 comments:

  1. I have missed you! So interesting to read about the celebrations in your area. It really must be amazing seeing so many lanterns..and to feel hope...wonderful. Here's wishing that your days slow down a little, if that is possible, and even if they don't slow down, I am sure they are very happy, enriching days.

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  2. i love this post!! thanks for sharing this incredible experience. how neat to see how others celebrate this festival. ;)

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  3. Anonymous3:24 AM

    So happy you are back, thank you for always inspiring this waldorf mommy of two. your post is a breath of fresh air and so lovely.
    thank you...

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  4. Hello Sara,

    What you said about the singing is interesting. I wanted to show my children a you tube video about how Martinmas is celebrated in Germany. I found quite a few, but in most of them nobody was singing! That was a new revelation for me. When I was little we had the long walks with the whole village, we had a band playing, but they were playing Martinmas songs and everybody was singing. I think it has just changed.

    Glühwein is great, isn't it?

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  5. You guys are the sweetest! Thanks for welcoming me back.

    Eva, we do love the glühwein. ;)

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  6. Yaah! I was so happy to see an update from you in my Blogger feed. I always love your posts. The autumn can get so busy, can't it? It's neat to see how people around the world celebrate different holidays. Those turnip lanterns look amazing. Next year I'll try my hand at carving turnips :) Hope to see more from you soon!

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  7. This is a wonderful peek into another culture...so fascinating, so beautiful. Thank you.

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  8. I was wondering if you'd ever made it back from the Acropolis! Glad life has been busy and filled with celebrations. Sometimes it's hard to be present in the midst of life while simulataneously chronicling it.

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  9. The lanterns/lights are truly magical! I can understand why it's a big celebration there.

    I know what you mean by feeling like you spend all day catching up with no time to spare. I've been feeling like that ever since our 2 trips to the West Coast this fall. Every week, I've had to prepare for highschool physics labs on top of the other regular homeschool and life stuff, and I fear I will never have time to write (hence my big NaNo fail this year) or do anything creative ever again.

    I know that this, too, shall pass, but I don't like seeing my days zoom by and feeling harried. I hope that life will slow down a bit for you so that you can have time to do more of the things you enjoy and want to do!

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  10. These are such incredible glimpses into another culture!! What an amazing and beautiful experience! We were in the family of one category~ so the idea of all those lanterns is just magical.

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  11. Hello Sara! I have thought of you often. I hope all is very well. How beautiful all those lanterns are!
    I hope you enjoy a wonderful advent season with your family!
    With love, Renee :)

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  12. Thanks, everyone. Your kind words bring such a smile to my face tonight!

    Teresa, I hope you find some time and peace soon. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

    Knights Mama, it is almost like we never came back from the Acropolis. We definitely left a piece of our hearts in Greece.

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a message. I appreciate your sweet words so much!

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