Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lantern Festival

When my girls were younger, our homeschooling group would celebrate a Lantern Festival each November 11, Martinmas Day.  During the weeks between Halloween and Martinmas each family would make their own lanterns -- some out of card stock or other paper-based material, some out of more sturdy materials, some meant only to last the day and others (like mine) that have lasted almost 20 years.

At dusk we would gather at a local park, that has a covered pavilion overlooking a small lake, and we would share with one another the simple food each had brought -- baked potatoes, bread, hot cider and cocoa.  Stories would be told of the origins of the Lantern Festival, St. Martin, the light that begins as a tiny flicker and grows through the year to warm the Earth, and stories of sharing, like the folk tale "Star Money".  After the stories all of the children and parents would one by one light their lanterns from a common flame and we would all walk around the lake, the reflections of the lit lanterns and their bearers breathtakingly beautiful as the group gradually strung itself around the lake -- singing (sometimes arcane un-sing-able pentatonic Waldorf songs, and sometimes "This Little Light of Mine"), until we found ourselves back where we started, at the pavilion.

These pictures show lanterns my family made.  We used to have about 9 or 10, but I have only saved two.  They were easy enough for even my youngest girls to make, when they were toddlers, but can be sophisticated enough for a teen or adult to make.  Simply tear colored tissue paper randomly or into shapes like stars, and glue on to a glass jar with modge podge, watered craft glue, or even a glue stick until the jar is covered.  Tie a piece of twine or yarn on to a canning ring that fits the mouth of a jar to make a simple handle.  A tea candle placed inside the jar will light it up like stained glass, and the length of the handle and the material of the lantern ensure there will be no danger for the child who carries it.

linking to Well-Made Wednesday at An Oregon Cottage,  Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage, and Show Off Your Cottage Monday at The House in the Roses.


Mojo said...

The good ole days!

Gerhard said...

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