The high holy days are upon us. My parents arrived from California today, and my in-laws from Illinois tonight. We are gathering for 3 days of feasting and altogether too much togetherness to celebrate the Feast of Katarina, that is, Katie's 6th birthday.
Katie's birthday also happens to be Martin Luther's birthday (which had nothing to do with our naming her Katie), AND it is St. Martin's Eve, which only means something if you're European. St. Martin of Tours' day is November 11, and he is remembered with parades, bonfires, and funny skits about a goose. But the real St. Martin was a pacifist and a generous giver to the poor -- something worth recalling on the eve of Veteran's Day in a nation that funds its wars with billions but can't seem to provide adequate health care to the men and women who return from these wars.
In Germany, children make homemade lanterns for the occasion (sometimes shaped like a goose) and parade them around after dark. We're going to make lanterns at the birthday party and then go to the church talent show.