Martinmas falls on November 11th and is widely celebrated in Waldorf Steiner schools. A much loved aspect of this is the lantern walk, which brings together the community to walk in the dark, sing songs together and perhaps enjoy a warming cup of soup.

The lead up to Martinmas is a time to make lanterns and fits beautifully with the other Festival of Lights following on from Halloween, bonfire night and leading into Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas.

The story of St. Martin is that he tore his cloak in two to protect a poor and shivering man on a cold winter’s night. As we make our way into the darkest days of the year, the lantern represents our inner light, shining warmth and compassion to others and lighting our way to brighter days.

There are many different ways to make lanterns, one of the simplest is a jam jar lantern.

You will need :

  • A clean jam jar with the label removed
  • PVA glue / brush – watered down to a single cream consistency
  • Tissue paper
  • Leaves (optional)
  • Garden wire
  • Tealight

How to do it:

  1. Brush the outside of the jar with glue and stick on the tissue paper
  2. Add a leaf/leaves
  3. Coat the whole of the outside again with glue and leave to dry
  4. Using pliers, attach some wire around the neck of the jar and make a wire or string handle

Papier-mâché lantern

You will need :

  • A balloon
  • White tissue paper, torn into pieces
  • PVA glue / brush – watered down to the consistency of single cream
  • Leaves (optional)
  • Wire or string

How to do it:

  1. Use lots of glue to make 2 layers of tissue paper, coat well with glue
  2. Add the leaves
  3. Add one more layer of tissue paper and leave overnight to dry
  4. When dry, pop the balloon then cut the neck of the balloon off and cut a circle around the top
  5. Make a hole each side to attach a wire or string handle
  6. Pop in a tealight – battery-operated lights work best for outdoor walking

Songs to sing

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Shining up the moon so bright
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

My Lantern

My lantern, my lantern
Shining near and far
Shining the moon
Shining like a silver star
My lantern, my lantern
Shining like the sun
My lantern, my lantern, shine on, shine on
My lantern, my lantern, shine on, shine on

About the Author: Paula Woodman

Paula is a Montessori teacher and Forest School Leader who has run the much loved Woodentots Montessori nurseries in North London for over 30 years. Recently recognised as Montessorian of the Year, Paula’s schools offer a unique and rich mix of Montessori, Steiner and Forest School, with child-led creativity at their core.