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Lantern Parade lights up the town centre

For the tenth year running children and parents of the German playgroup, Biene Maja, once again celebrated St Martin’s day with a lantern parade through the town. 

Members said, “More than 40 members and friends of the Frome-based playgroup met outside the library to start the traditional procession through the town centre.

“They carried brightly illuminated lanterns and sang songs while walking towards  Catherine Hill. The walk ended at the library again where the lovely and colourful lanterns were hung up to decorate the tree in front of the library. Everybody had a good time, enjoying homemade treats and mulled wine to beat the cold.”

Sabine Keil from Biene Maja playgroup said, “It has become a lovely tradition for our German community to meet up once a year in Frome to celebrate St Martin’s day and this year was our 10th anniversary. The lanterns are often made at home and become more sophisticated every year.

“St Martin’s day is traditionally celebrated in Germany where nurseries or the town councils organise the event. For us, it is an opportunity to bring a little bit of Germany to Frome and keep the tradition alive for our children.”

Legend has it that Martin was a Roman soldier who devoted his life to help the poor. Once in winter he rode his horse and when he came upon a beggar shivering from the cold, he divided his coat with his sword and gave one half to the poor man.

Later in life, Martin was asked to become Bishop but he was too reluctant to accept and hid in a stable. People went looking for him with lanterns and that’s why today, children in Germany and in other European countries carry lanterns to remember  and celebrate St. Martin’s day.