Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sint Maarten

Tonight the Dutch (and the Lesters) celebrated Sint Maarten's day. It's essentially the feast day of St Martin of Tours, a roman soldier turned monk. (That's about all the history I know). Anyways- for an expat it meant searching the stores for a lantern, attempting to learn a dutch song so my child could get candy from strangers, and explaining a new tradition to children who insisted they needed to wear costumes because we made a rookie mistake of comparing it to "halloween" 

There was a huge Lampion (light) parade at Vondelpark, the cities biggest park, just down the street from us. We met up with some of Luke's school friends and our play buddies. I made a few more rookie mistakes- like not opening the lantern packaging until arriving at the park- "batterijen niet inbegrepen" apparently means "Batteries Not included". Lucky for us I had a spare bike light in my bag and another friend had two random batteries in her purse. I also bought the ready made paper lanterns- so cute- so cheap- broken in 10 seconds flat! No wonder everyone makes a big deal here about making your own lantern. Next year I'll just have to make a sacrifice and drink two boxes of wine to have the empty cartons and make our own lanterns (i saw it on pinterest!). The sacrifices we make as parents:)
The parade started with a marching band and we jumped in toward the front to hear the songs. It was PACKED- and we hopped out of the route by our house- it was a sea of people. If I had to estimate it was close to 1,000 people walking with kids and lanterns. 

On the walk home Luke was brave enough to jump in and sing with other kids to get his candy!
The candy givers were hard core- no signing no candy.
The song my Dutch teacher taught me translated to "my mother is fat, my father is small now give me some little candy". I chose to teach Luke and alternative song-
                                   Elf november is de dag, (11th of November is the day)                                                 dat mijn lichtje (that my light)                                   Dat mijn lichtje branden mag"  (that my light may burn)

Derek and I had to laugh as he showed us his Unwrapped Candy (gummies and marshmallows)! It took us back to our childhood of pre-wrapped halloween candy.

So that's Sint Maarten's day in Holland.

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