St. Martin's Day

Monday, November 12, 2007

Friday, November 9th, was the St. Martin's Day celebration at the girls kindergarten. St. Martin's Day is officially recognized as the eleventh of November. At 11:11 am on the eleventh of November is the kick off of Karival season in Germany (and other parts to the world as well).

St. Martin was a Roman solder who later became a monk and it is his good deed of sharing his coat with a begger during a snow storm that is most known. Many kindergartens and pre-schools celebrate the day (often on other days, so that parents can attend more than one!) by creating decorative latterns and parading around singing songs about St. Martin. There is often a bon fire, with various food and drink sold available that warms the body on this cold time of of year. The fire department built and oversaw the bonfire, but because of concern about it being too rainy for the little kids, the singing of songs was done in the kindergarten this year. The kindergarten taught the kids some new songs, so they didn't sing the couple of songs that I remember from the past. I have posted some videos on YouTube.

Carnival (Karneval) season kicks off on November eleventh at 11:11 am. Karneval (the Rheinland area of Germany), Fastnacht (around Mainz) , or Fasching (around Munich and Austria) are all differnt names given to it within the German speaking areas of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The season is a celebration before the quiet period of lent, prior to Easter. The high light of the season is Rosenmontag, which is usually occuring the 42nd day before Easter. Although many German cities have their own parades and celebrations, the most famous are held in Mainz, Colonge, and Dusseldorf. Venice, Italy has a well known costume ball, but many of the German cities have their own costumed gatherings (especially for the kids). We've taken our kids to several parades and activites related to Carnival. The kids really enjoy being able to dress up.

Here are a few links where you can learn more about St. Martin and Karneval...

Anna is outside in two of the pictures while the other two pictures are of new dresses that we recently bought for the girls.

I recently did a post on the other blog on the Thanksgiving Review.

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Halloween 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

We celebrated Halloween last week. This is the fourth time that we have taken the girls trick or treating. It still amazes me to see the kids dress up and that houses have candy to hand out. The surprising thing about this is that while I believe the holiday started in Ireland and came over to the U.S., where they kind of made it their own. Halloween is a huge holiday in the U.S., while the candy and stuff produced for this holiday is not a much a Christmas, I'm sure it has to be up there with some of the other holidays. I don't believe that kids have been trick or treating on Halloween for that many years, but it does seem to grow every year. The first few years that we did this we made a point of only stopping at the houses that were decorated. This year we went to all the houses in our little neighborhood, and most everyone handed out candy! Since it was rather cold and the housed outside of our immediate neighborhood, didn't seem to be into it as much, we didn't get too far away.

I showed the girls "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" a couple of times to get them in the spirit of Halloween. Anna designed a pumpkin that had chicken pox, a unique idea I thought. I now realize that I didn't take any pictures of it. Christine found a nice recipe for making pumpkin seeds and they turned out rather tastey. Here are a few pictures that I took of the girls. Anna was a Snow Queen, while Sarah was a unicorn. I posted several photos on Flickr account, I have created a folder for them here.

Darryl's Dad...
Darryl's dad returned home from the hospital on October 22nd after having a double heart by-pass surgery. They originally wanted to do a quadrupple but two the artaries weren't wide enough to do them, the doctor had said that they might not have taken and might have done more damage than they would have done good. He has an irregular heart beat, which apparently happens to 25% of the people having by-passes, of those, 75% tend to correct themselves within a couple of months. They have put him on a blood thinner and are monitoring his progress. I wrote a post about signs of heart attacks and what to do at my other blog, you can find the post here. I recommend that you read the post and prepare for the possiblity of a friend, loved one, worker, and so on having one, as it is critical to act quickly in such an event.

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