Martinmas

November 12, 2009

Martinmas is one of my true favorite festivals of the Autumn season. There is something about watching your children take a long walk through the leaves with a warmly lit lantern that makes you certain that the world is a beautiful place.

My kids attended two years in a waldorf school, and when we left due to Jacob’s celiac disease, it was a heart break for all of us. The community of families that celebrated together through the years was one of a kind, and even though I love homeschooling my children, it is moments like these that make me yearn to have a close knit community.

We were very blessed last night to be invited by Bernadette and her family to attend the Lantern Walk at the waldorf school of Bernadette’s daughter, Zoe. The day was filled with many moments of preparation, cooking, crafting, and singing.



Our lanterns were made using glass Ball jars and tissue paper, and they provided us with a gorgeous autumn glow through the evening walk.



I think that the best part of the preparations though came from melting warm beeswax and creating these incredible golden ornaments. While they were not actually part of our evening celebration, we had seen these ornaments made over on Garden Mama, and the kids fell in love and had been begging to create them ourselves.



Using natural, raw beeswax is an amazing experience, and one that we enjoy every time. The smell just does something to you that I can’t explain. It smells warm. I know, that sounds crazy, but it does. It is impossible to be anything but content when there is the smell of warm beeswax in the air.

We used candy molds to create these, warmed the beeswax in a bowl over a pot of boiling water (the double broiler method), and used twine cording as their hanger.

We picked four special ornaments to take to Bernadette’s family, and then packed our basket full of corn bread, brown bread and apple crisp, and headed out to start our festival.



We gathered around the table, and came together for a hearty meal to keep us warm before embarking outdoors. Bernadette served a delicious herbed carrot soup, and if I had been a smart lady, I would have grabbed a bowl to take home with me for today.

We ate, we cleaned, and we did our last minute preparations (and there were a few), and then we were set to go.





This very small group was gathered under the stars as the children were told a story, and their lanterns were lit.



With quiet voices, we began to sing and walk through the park, leaves rustling underneath, the children’s lanterns swinging all around. Miss Lynn, Zoe’s teacher, led the children on the walk, and just as we were half way around, she pointed to a small lantern lit on a bench, and to a beautiful woman sitting next to it. As we approached, the woman, dressed in white and veiled, called to the little ones to gather around. She addressed each of the individually, and placed in their hand a small bulb to plant in their garden. I watched as Elwood, my youngest, came to the realization that he was standing before Mother Earth. He just starred at this beautiful woman, and I have no idea what he was thinking, or what he was feeling, but he did not want that moment to end.

As the walk concluded, we came together one last time to eat and drink and wish each other a wonderful night. The children had called to King Sun to ask for the light to be brought forth, had walked with their lanterns through the park to celebrate the light’s warmth, and now the candles had been extinguished, and it was time for sleep.

The fairy tales, stories and myths that are shared are so precious, and last night was such a great reminder about the power of silence, the power of light, and the power of magic.


Bernadette’s Herbed Carrot Soup

1.5 c chopped onions

1 T oil

1 T butter

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf

3 c. peeled, chopped carrots

1 c peeled, chopped sweet potatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 t dried dill

2 c milk

3T cream cheese

salt and ground black pepper

3 t lemon juice

In a large soup pot, saute onions in oil and butter until they begin to soften.

Add the celery and cook gently until onions are caramelized.

Add garlic and bay leaf and saute until well-combined.

Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, stock, thyme, and dill.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf.

Remove from heat. Cut the cream cheese into several pieces and add to soup. Allow to soften for several minutes.

Using a stick blender, or working in batches in a blender, puree the soup with the cream cheese and milk. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

Gently reheat.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea November 12, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Sounds lovely!

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larissa November 12, 2009 at 5:33 pm

what an absolutely magnificent experience for your boys! and i love the way you molded the beeswax into ornaments. thank you so much for sharing this.

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Michelle S November 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm

That looks like such a magical evening for the kids. The lanterns are so beautiful and I also just love the ornaments. The smell of beeswax candles is so comforting.

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Shivayamama November 12, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I can't recommend the beeswax ornaments enough. They are just so perfect for the holidays

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Stephanie November 12, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I too got chills when you describe the children approaching, listening to and seeing mother earth. This looks like such a neat experience to have gotten to be a part of. Love the lanterns, so beautiful! I too want to make those beeswax ornaments, I drooled over those on Gardenmama's page and glad for the reminder again here. With all there is to get done for the holidays, beautiful things I see on blogs that I want to make, sometimes I forget about them as soon as I click off of the page, I need to start bookmarking ideas more.

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Bria November 12, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Hi Heather,

I do so love reading about your life and your traditions and children. You are so rich.

And thank you for always stopping by my blog with a word of encouragement… I 'soul-ly' appreciate it.

Warmly,
Brie

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Earth Mama November 12, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Does your son have Celiac and cannot be near any gluten flour used for cooking that stays air borne for days? Im wondering why you had to stop school because of it. I guess they do do a lot of cooking at Waldorf schools. My oldest has never been "officially" diagnosed with Celiac, because by the time I thought about testing we had been GF for five years, and the test would not be effective unless it was still damaging her system. However, she is so sensative that she cannot be where any flour had been used or she gets excema really bad.

Thanks for sharing your lantern walk story!

:)Lisa

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Eva November 12, 2009 at 6:13 pm

What a special night you all had. Those ornaments sound so amazing. Do you have a recommendation on where to buys beeswax?

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Kelly November 12, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Chills – just lovely! Thanks for sharing.

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Martha November 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Sounds like a wonderful night.
The beeswax thing? I have read before that if you burn a beeswax candle in a room, all present will enjoy each other's company…
So there must be something to it. Wonder if it keeps the bees happy – bet it does. Mother Nature is soooo clever.
Thanks again for sharing a bit of your lovely life.

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SugarMama November 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Thank you so much for sharing our special golden evening. Zoe had the last of the apple crisp for breakfast.

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sowabisabi November 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm

what a really great tradition to celebrate. beautiful photos of the lanterns. I'd like to make one with Jude. I totally agree about the smell of beeswax. It doesn't even have to be melted for me…we have a large block that I pick up occasionally just for a whiff. that recipe looks great!

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Nina - Tabiboo November 12, 2009 at 7:44 pm

A beautiful tradition and I love all it all from the lanterns to sharing a meal with friends and singing whilst walking through the leaves – a perfect, perfect evening and Martinmas.

Nina x

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AdirondackMama November 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Gosh Heather! We really have nothing like this here where I live. It looks like such a wonderful time and I think that it is so wonderful to be included in such magical times even though your boys don't attend the school.

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Kelly November 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

your celebration looks lovely.

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Melissa November 12, 2009 at 9:04 pm

The beeswax ornaments look warming, i know exactly what you mean about smelling warm as well.
I have only just heart of Martinmas, reading abou the children coming apon Mother Earth dressed in white and veiled brought my hairs on end (in a very good way)
It sounds enchanting.
I am definatly going to research that one.
Thanks Heather, much love, Melissa

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Grace November 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

What a lovely celebration! We enjoyed our own homegrown Martinmas celebration last night with a group of Waldorf homeschoolers. It was a magical evening!

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quirkygranolagirl November 12, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I also have never heard of Martinmas before. Thank you for sharing. That soup recipe looks fantastic!

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kyndale November 12, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I love those beeswax ornaments! I want to make some myself. I agree that the smell of beeswax is so amazing. What a fun time you had at your celebration! It does look very magical.

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jenn November 12, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Thank you for sharing this lovely evening with us all.. I am so drawn to the Waldorf way… my children are older though.. I wish I would have know about this years ago. It just seems so right in this day and age. Just a lovely post!

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sunnymama November 13, 2009 at 12:13 am

What a magical celebration! Looks like you had a lot of fun. :)

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erin November 13, 2009 at 12:22 am

we are getting ready for a lantern walk at our kids' school tomorrow. such a simple joy!!

thank you so much for sharing the beeswax ornaments. i bought some raw beeswax recently and have been waiting for just the right project…

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kate November 12, 2009 at 5:42 pm

*chills* heather! The image of the children gathering around mother earth– so, so beautiful! I love the beeswax ornaments– we've never done that and I think it is going to have to happen before the thanksgiving holiday! The photos are lovely too– as is that recipe for herbed carrot soup, a staple in this house, but one that could use updating (we've been eating the same Moosewood recipe for ages…I'm going to try this one this weekend:))

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Lisa Q November 13, 2009 at 12:59 am

those ornaments sound wonderful…we'll have to try those for the holidays. They would be nice tied onto packages. Where did you get your beeswax? Thanks for sharing so many of the beautiful bits of your days.

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Valarie November 13, 2009 at 1:30 am

Happy Martinmas. Such a lovely and beautiful day you had. What a great community you have to share this special day with.Your lanterns are just beautiful and I wish I could walk with you. I think we will need to make some of these lanterns. They are so fun. I love the beeswax ornaments. Where do you get your beeswax? I can't find any here.
In Sweden, on this day we eat a feast of roasted goose,black soup,roasted potatoes,apples, and red cabbage and end it all with apple charlotte.

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Maeghan November 13, 2009 at 1:32 am

What a lovely evening. I had never heard of this. Wow!

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Courtney November 13, 2009 at 1:34 am

mmmmm … this post was such a feast for my senses … the smells, the sounds, the flavors are so vivid! Thank you for this taste of autumn.

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AG Ambroult November 13, 2009 at 2:44 am

I so love those ornaments. I saw them on GM's blog and have been planning a trip to buy beeswax. Those lanterns look so beautiful illuminated in the night. sigh. I do love all things autumn.

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renee November 13, 2009 at 2:54 am

How lovely, especially Elwood's magical moment! Your beeswax ornaments are beautiful too!

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Hip Mountain Mama November 13, 2009 at 3:16 am

Sounds like fun! Glad you got to spend this special time with Bernadette and her family! I am in love with those beeswax ornaments…I am going to have to make some of those soon! I rolled some beeswax candles today and the smell is so intoxicating!

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nicola November 13, 2009 at 3:48 am

what a plentiful post! beautiful photos, beautiful ornaments, recipes! what more could a reader ask for?
may i ask, though, why you felt the need to homeschool (part from your waldorf school) when celiac disease was diagnosed?
thank you for sharing!
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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Eva November 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm

That sounds…well, beautiful. The glow of the lanterns themselves, is warming! I imagine it was a magical night! The soup sounds & looks delicious…can't wait to try it! I have never heard of Martinmas before.. I will have to do some research for next year!
Thanks for sharing!

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Adrie November 13, 2009 at 4:55 am

Wow! Those lanterns, the ornaments, and Mother Earth! Wish I had seen this – how amazing. Must look up Michaelmas . . . thank you!

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Imene November 13, 2009 at 1:28 am

I fell in love with this ceremony. I wish I had learned about it earlier but I just started my journey in the waldorf education.
The ornaments are so beautiful! practical question: where do you get the beeswax?

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Jennifer November 13, 2009 at 2:01 pm

It looks like it was a beautiful evening. I do so wish that we could work a Waldorf school into our lives, but it just isn't in God's plan for us right now! I'm very glad that you were able to participate; I'm certain that it was wonderful for your boys.

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Shivayamama November 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Thank you Kate! I just got the Moosewood cookbooks back out to get my soups cooking for Autumn and Winter! Gotta love them. This soup is so good, especially steaming hot and right out of the pot! Let me know what you think

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Shivayamama November 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I am right there with you on that one. I have SO many projects that I want to create for the holidays, and so many that are in my own head. I need a digital list :)

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Shivayamama November 13, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Yep, that is exactly why he can not go to school there. It is so sad, because it was an environment that was so conducive to his temperament.

Jacob has the same thing, he can not be anywhere that floured has been used, may be on the counters, in the air, etc. We really try not to even ever allow him to be in a grocery store.

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Shivayamama November 13, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I have never read that, but I so believe it. I made some beeswax candles using the leftovers from the ornaments, and just put them into jelly jars. Now I just feel blissed out whenever they are lit :)

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Shivayamama November 13, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Well that is the perfect way to start the day

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Kelli November 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Beautiful! Now, this makes me wish we had done something for Martinmas. I have only celebrated it with our Parent/Child group and since we've moved I've really missed their companionship in this journey. I am the only one doing Waldorf homeschooling in our area, and sometimes I feel a bit let down. I feel like I am researching constantly and to celebrate Martinmas would have been more of the same. It hurts my heart sometimes to be isloated, other times it is such a blessing.

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gardenmama November 14, 2009 at 5:49 am

It truly is such a magical celebration, it looks like your family had a lovely night!
It is nice to see that you made the beeswax ornaments, what a nice way to celebrate on Martinmas!

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rae November 15, 2009 at 3:02 am

what a beautiful celebration you enjoyed! i agree, martinmas is one of my favorites. your beeswax ornaments turned out great! they are so very bright and yellow! this year, we combined beeswax and martinmas and made beeswax lanterns. they are so fun! come see: ” target=”_blank”>http://www.morningsunrae.blogspot.com

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