Saint Martin of Tours is one of the most well known saints of the Catholic Church. He is celebrated on November 11 for separating his cloak into two and sharing it with a beggar. Around that time of year, a traditional dish of geese, dumplings and red cabbage is served in restaurants virtually everywhere. A somewhat heavy meal but very tasty to those who enjoy meat.
Most celebrations symbolise the adoration of this kind, gentle man. In most regions of Germany, protestant or catholic, young children and infants meet for Saint Martin’s Day processions, going from house to house to ask for sweets and sometimes singing traditional songs. Some official parades hold up tradition by being led by a robed rider on a horse. They take place many days prior to and following the true date.
Much time is spent in schools and families making paper lanterns to carry through the streets, with lanterns lit either by real candles or small battery powered bulbs. Due to the dark time of year, the processions create a wonderfully magical atmosphere. In Düsseldorf too.