Lantern Parade

The Children’s Lantern Parade takes place every year before Christkindlmarkt opening ceremonies. Children ages 4-11 are welcome to participate but must be accompanied by an adult. Lanterns cost $5 and can be kept after the parade.

The parade route starts at the Zion Lutheran Church (212 S. Front St.) and will proceed down Front St., across High St., and down Dayton St. to St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church (224 Dayton St.).

 

The story of the Saint Martin Lantern Parade

The tradition of children walking through German cities with lighted lanterns on the eve of Saint Martin’s Feast Day can be traced to the early Middle Ages. Martin of Tours was the first canonized Saint not associated with martyrdom, and the lantern songs (called Lanternen Lieder) tell of his generosity and appointment as Bishop of Poitiers. During the Middle Ages, Saint Martin’s Feast Day was as popular as Saint Nikolaus Day, as both featured Christmas themes such as light and giving. Throughout Germany, the winter feast of Saint Martin finds children and adults making lanterns to carry through the streets at night in large groups called trains. Today children often receive sweets and pastries from people watching the parade of lanterns.