The Feast of St. Martin, or St. Martin’s Day as it’s also known, is commemorated each year on November 11 to mark the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. Historically, a feast is eaten on St. Martin’s Day to celebrate the earth’s bounty and newly produced wine from the year’s harvest is served in abundance.
Last Friday, November 13 more than 200 House of Knowledge International School and Kindergarten (HoK) community members took part in a special Feast of St. Martin celebration at the school’s Victoria Gardens Campus. Though the tradition is celebrated differently around the world, House of Knowledge took part in the festivities the German way; young and old carried lanterns and took a walk around the campus singing songs and customary St. Martin’s staple food and drinks were served including goulash, meat, and mulled wine. Sweet treats and juices by Colibri Cafe were also on hand. Entertainment included students singing St. Martin’s songs in English, Chinese, and German as well as a pre-recorded stage play in German with English subtitles about St. Martin’s day. Dave’s Studio was in attendance to take family photos of the memorable event.
St. Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier who was baptized as an adult and became a monk, according to Wikipedia. He was known as a friend to children and a patron of the poor. Perhaps the best known legend about St. Martin is that he once cut his cloak in half during a snowstorm to share with a beggar and save him from the cold. The legend holds that that evening, St. Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak and heard Jesus say to the angels, "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clothed me.”
While the use of lanterns in the procession isn’t clear, the same article notes that some see the lanterns as a substitute for the traditional St. Martin bonfire which can still be seen in few cities and villages across Europe during the holiday. The lanterns are thought to be symbolic of the light, holiness, and hope St. Martin brought to the poor with his good deeds.
Indeed, the purpose of the celebrating the Feast of St. Martin at HoK is to be charitable and giving, affirms Head of Marketing Tara Gillan. “Leading up to the event, each class had fundraisers. All the children from nursery to elementary participated in raising money for a brave little 4 year-old girl with leukemia who Roundabout is helping. HoK raised RMB 24,811 from the St. Martin’s event to contribute towards her medical costs,” she says.
Photos: Courtesy of HoK