Martinmas--toward a gesture of giving

We had a little Martinmas celebration last night. I really love Martinmas. It's the very first festival of light that reminds of us our inner light. It's also a way to consciously turn from the gesture of taking at Halloween to the gesture of giving through the holidays.

Hels began her day by helping the 3-year olds in the Nursery to make their lanterns. Then she came home to make phone calls for a food drive she is organizing. We also spent some time looking at hat projects with the idea of making something warm for others. The hat on her head is one beginning prototype made from a recycled sweater.

Lou then got down the box of lanterns. We have quite the lantern collection after all these years--balloon lanterns, paper lanterns, jar lanterns, and a tin lantern.

She wanted to light them all and have an "electricity free" evening which we did. It was a bit nerve-wracking seeing as most of them are made out of paper and balloons, but we did it. She enjoyed carrying this one around the house. Jar lanterns aren't as exciting to make as balloon lanterns, but they allow Mom to breath a sigh of relief at the safety factor.

As we sat by the fire amidst all our lanterns, I read Amy's Goose which I keep tucked away and bring out just on Martinmas.

This lovely story is about a young girl who comes upon a goose that has been hurt by a fox. She cares for it while its mate circles above the barn calling for it, anxious to head south. She eventually puts aside her own wishes and lets it go. I like the story because it is full of beautiful autumn illustrations and is a reminder that we each have a giving spirit inside.

I pulled out Three Cups of Tea and Knitting for Peace for Hels to look at. I also showed her Soulemama's Mama to Mama hats so we could think of a charity project to make. Over these next weeks I want our thoughts to start turning toward the seasons of thankfulness and giving. If anyone knows of stories (fiction or non-fiction) about people who have given I would like to hear about them--especially if they would appeal to a 12 year old!

This is my little way of bringing a younger child's festival to my older children. We'll start our sewing projects this week and our neighborhood is having a potluck and lantern walk this weekend, so we'll get out there and sing away with our lanterns. While my girls might groan a bit, they will secretly enjoy it and look back fondly to these days.

Suzanne  – (November 12, 2008 at 8:55 AM)  

You had a lovely time:-) We love the story Amy's Goose also. Enjoy your weekend lantern walk.

Dawn  – (November 12, 2008 at 9:58 AM)  

I like the prototype hat on Hel's head; it looks stylish and cozy. If I can think of a book to recommend, I'll come back. I haven't read Any's Goose, but I love Tasha Tudor's illustrations so I'm sure I'd love that book.

Tammy  – (November 12, 2008 at 10:58 AM)  

Our library doesn't have Amy's Goose. :(

We are going on our lantern walk Friday. We did balloon lanterns too!

Martha  – (November 12, 2008 at 11:00 AM)  

This is just a lovely post. I can't wait to locate Amy's Goose and read it to my girls.
We were in the remote hills of Vermont and thought of you...
Thanks for the inspiration!

Dawn  – (November 12, 2008 at 11:33 AM)  

I have never heard of this holiday thank you for sharing.

Here are some thankful book ideas:

Beatrice's Goat (for much younger children) but relates to Heifer Project.

My all time favorite book is the Giving Tree. Again for younger readers, but everyone should have a copy.

I need to think about this. I know there are more. I will get back to you. I love the idea.

Mary Beth  – (November 12, 2008 at 12:57 PM)  

Thank you so much for sharing you Martinmas celebration. Such good inspiration. I love your idea of consciously shifting our minds and hearts to giving and thankfulness.

sarah p  – (November 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM)  

What a beautiful celebration.

Lisa Anne  – (November 13, 2008 at 7:31 AM)  

We are going to do our walk on friday or saturday, the girls did a great service project yesterday at the local food bank and are ready to do more.
I cannot think of any book, but I do believe getting out there and doing something and then realizing how little effort it takes to help someone opens up a lot of discussion. One book we have read is "Luna", it is more about environmental activism; Julia Hill Butterfly lived in a tree for a long time to prevent old growth forests in CA being cut down. We talked a lot about Three Cups of Tea last night while we were knitting and had a great discussion but I don't think they are into reading it. Please let us know if you find any books that inspire!!

Angela  – (November 14, 2008 at 4:25 AM)  

What a lovely tradition...

I will have ot look into martinmas...I think the holiday would be right up HoneyGirl's alley.

Anna Katherine –   – (November 16, 2008 at 5:19 AM)

I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for your insightful posts.

If you are looking for a story of someone helping another, the story of Jen Lemen and her friend Odette is unbelievably moving. Odette is from Rwanda where her two young daughters still live. The second link will tell you about their friendship and story. Jen is constantly reaching out and helping Odette's family in Rwanda.

Teaching Handwork  – (November 16, 2008 at 11:41 PM)  

I really like the hexagon one with the stars and moon

how did you make that?

Nan  – (November 19, 2008 at 11:37 AM)  

You asked for book suggestions about people giving - there's one I love beyond words called Children of Christmas by Cynthia Rylant. I plan to read it again this year, and maybe will do a book report on it. Another is Caroline B. Cooney's, What Child is This? I wrote about it last year if you'd like to know more:

I found you from a comment you left on the Bread and Roses blog.

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