I love how calendars in this day and age are so egalitarian, so politically, or should we say globally correct. In most modern versions you will find every holiday from Botswana to Iceland to the tips of Patagonia represented, not to mention all the newly formed holidays that are forever popping up... Secretary's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Remember Anything That Doesn't Yet Have a Holiday Day.
I tend to like the ones that have a couple hundred years behind them, but that cuts out a lot of modern day events so I need to work on getting over that.
Living overseas in a country with holidays far different than my own, and among other foreigners who bring their own set of traditions and celebrations, new reasons to celebrate seem to be popping up all the time. Yesterday was November 11, and on that one day alone...
- The feast of St. Martin (or Martinmas) is celebrated all over Europe
- Remembrance Day is celebrated in the U.S. (which used to be Veteran's Day, which began as a memorial to the WWI armistice signed on Nov. 11th at 5am)
- Pepero Day is celebrated in Korea (a brilliant marketing plan)
My observance of Remembrance Day was limited to reading all the comments on facebook. My interest in Pepero Day began on the walk to school where I first heard about it and continued to rise throughout the day as it was brought up again and again. Where was my Pepero is what I want to know?
With all of its history and the fact that its celebrants walk around with lanterns, Martinmas was a dead ringer for me. There was a local gathering put on by some expats living here, to help the children celebrate by making paper lanterns and then taking a lamplit walk. We couldn't go because of scheduling conflicts, but we made our own lanterns in the afternoon and then lit them during our evening meal together.
It was fun and so simple, and gave some festivity to our otherwise midweek Thursday meal. I'm not sure that the Europeans serve Indian Curry at their Martinmas dinner feasts (I think goose is traditionally the way to go), but it worked for us.
As a whole, I think Martinmas is a sweet little holiday. It's history is simple, and perhaps not entirely compelling, but it does have all those years behind it which moves it up a few notches in my book.
Just one more stop, one more bit of preparation and festive enjoyment on our way to this upcoming season we call the Holidays. I'm hopeful they can all be this calm, simple, and full of Light.