It’s that time of year again for the lovely German tradition of St. Martin’s. Thousands of children will participate in processions, carrying colorful lanterns as they wind their way through the streets, singing traditional songs.
More than 1,600 years ago, a Roman soldier shared his coat with a beggar on a cold winter's day, saving him from death. Since then, his deed has been recognized as a symbol of mercy and charity. That soldier was Saint Martin, and he is remembered every year around the 11th of November.
The largest procession on November 8
Starting at the beginning of November, in Bonn alone there will be around 60 St. Martin processions. The biggest one will take place in the city center on Friday, November 8, when around 1,300 children will be carrying their colorful lanterns as they move through the city center. It starts at 5:15 pm on Münsterplatz and leads through Remigiusstrasse, Acherstrasse, Dreieck, Münsterplatz and past the post office, Windeckstrasse, Bottlerplatz, Sterntor, Vivatsgasse and Sternstrasse. It ends up at the Marktplatz, where there will be a big bonfire.
Because of the set-up work for the St.Martin’s celebration, the market stands are only open until 2 p.m. on this day. But no street closings are planned for the procession and traffic impairments are not expected.
A map showing all the processions
The list is long but GA has a map of all the St. Martin’s processions throughout Bonn. The dates and starting times are listed on the map. If you click on a location, you will get the time and date of that procession. Each procession is typically affiliated with a school, kindergarten or day care.
Here is the link where you will find the map of the processions: Martinszüge
St. Martin’s songs
The children sing traditional songs as they proceed down the streets, or later when they go door to door, singing for sweets. Learning the words and singing along is of course a wonderful cultural experience. Here are the lyrics to the most popular songs in this PDF from the City of Bonn: https://www.bonn.de/medien-global/amt-13/Martinslieder.pdf
Orig. text: general-anzeiger-bonn.de