11th of the 11th 2011. S(a)int Maarten

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 12th, 2011

Holland was neutral during the WW I but in many parts of the country this is the day St.Martin’s feast day is remembered. The tradition goes back to the Middle Ages and though a Roman Catholic saint, just like Saint Nicholas, it has continued after the reformation. Our Halloween most likely has borrowed partsĀ from this tradition and its earlier pagan origins. The children go around the neighborhood with jack o’lanterns and sing Sint Maarten songs in exchange for sweets and fruit. In some parts of N.W. Europe, like Friesland, the children also wear masks.

A group of St.Maarten carolers at my nephew's home in Haarlem

Yesterday I drove to the Lemmer where my mother grew up and the story of the “The Mastmakers Daughters” plays. I managed to find additional information and illustrations for the book I hope to have ready by this Spring. Not a drop of rain has fallen since I arrived in Holland on the 3rd and it is another beautiful sunny day, but cold.

An American Bald Cypress in fall colors in Vondelpark in Amsterdam




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