St. Martin’s Day,  or that time we let Germans lead us through the forest in the dark

About a month ago, S’s teachers sent a note home reminding us to send in a Lanternenstab. This led to me going  “huh?” what?” for a while, to myself of course, followed by some hurried texting to Jon. I’m supposed to send my child in with what? Google did not help. It will only lead you to some nonsense about guitars. So then I turned to amazon.de, because surely this was something I was expected to buy, and saw this.
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That got ordered immediately. Without any thought whatsoever as to why or what I was buying it for. It was only as the day drew closer that I realized it was for celebrating a saint, which is fine if you believe in saints, but we don’t.   I felt a little bit weird about it, but it seemed to be an important cultural event, so off we went.
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Our Laternenlauf was organized by S’s school. As soon as it got dark a teacher, playing a flute no less, led us through the wood to a small amphitheater, because of course she did, where the children sang songs. I mostly made insensitive jokes about our situation to my husband  (in the woods, at night, surrounded by Germans) and tried to keep track of my daughter in the dark.
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Then, like all of the other sleepy children, S was hoisted up onto Jon’s shoulders and we dragged ourselves home, A successfully German evening!
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