Here I am , all ready for lanterns and silly songs .
The evening of St Martin's feast day is celebrated here by children who go round their neighbourhood with lanterns they've made at school .
There's giggling and shuffling feet outside and it usually begins with
"Sint Maarten , Sint Maarten , de koeien hebben staarten ,
De meisjes hebben rokjes aan , de jongens hebben sokjes aan
Heir komt Sint Martinus aan ."
Open the door and there's a circle of bright little faces , wobbly lanterns and optimistically big bags . If you're lucky , you get another silly song after you've handed over the loot . Meanies who hand over apples or mandarins , the healthy alternative , presumably get a raspberry once they've closed the door .
Lantern designs vary wildly from windmills or toadstools to goldfish . This year our playschool made these . I hope it earns them a surfeit of brightly coloured sugar and lots of praise .
P.S. The words of the song translate as
"St Martin , St Martin , the cows have tails ,
the girls have skirts on , the boys have socks on ,
here comes St Martin ."
Yes . It does sound better in Dutch ....at least it rhymes !
But I'm not sure what it has to do with a Roman soldier who ripped his cloak in two to give half to a beggar .