Saturday, November 10, 2007
Martinstag is November 11th. This starts the Karneval season in Catholic Germany. On this day, the children of Germany carry lanterns, sing songs and are rewarded with candy. In addition to going from door to door, most towns have a parade "Martinszuge" ending at a huge bonfire. I don't understand the reason ... but Martinstag was celebrated on different days this past week in each of the local communities. The celebration for central Bonn was on Friday night. I stood in the Munster Platz and watched the parade go by. It took a half an hour for all of the children to pass me. I then joined in with the parents walking along the side of the parade to the bonfire in the Markt Platz. I marvel at the Germans' lack of fear of fire. Children (some as young as 3 years old) carry paper lanterns with candles in them. There were fire fighters all over the center of town and particularly concentrated at the bonfire.