SAINT MARTINS IN DÜSSELDORF
November 11 2024
Saint Martin of Tours is one of the most well known saints of the Catholic Church. He is celebrated each November on the Feast of Saint Martin or Saint’s Day. His fame arises from separating his cloak into two and sharing it with a beggar. Around that time of year, a traditional dish of goose, Gans, dumplings, Knödel, and red cabbage, Rotkohl, served with thick gravy is the seasonal speciality in restaurants virtually everywhere. A somewhat heavy meal but very tasty for patrons who enjoy eating meat and highly popular.
Most celebrations symbolise the adoration of this kind and gentle man. In most regions of Germany, protestant or catholic, young children and infants meet for Saint Martin’s Day processions, going from house to house to ask for sweets and sometimes singing traditional songs. Some semi-official parades maintain a long tradition through being led by a robed rider on a horse.
Much time is spent in schools and at home among families making paper lanterns to carry through the streets, with lanterns very rarely lit by real candles for the adults or small battery powered bulbs. Due to the dark time of year, the processions create a wonderfully magical atmosphere downtown and in the neighbourhoods of Neuss.
Mothers and children from the Japanese community in Düsseldorf’s district of Oberkassel have embraced the tradition for many years. Enthusiastically walking local pavements in small groups, they joyfully reveal their magnificent hand crafted lanterns. One important aspect of the fun is to ask local shopkeepers for sweets, which are always generously donated.
Local processions take place across several days and a major activity is held in the old town close to city hall. Enthusiasts can thus experience St Martins in several districts.
By Vincent Green, Nov 2 2023
The public transport system in the city is safe and normally efficient. A dense network of trams above and below ground as well as buses serve the city and its suburbs. Links via the S-Bahn train system reach further outlying areas and neighbouring communities.
A great way to get to know Düsseldorf is to take an inspiring and rewarding walk, allow impressions to cause a pause, interact and allow details to remain more memorable. Admiring quaint side streets, strolling the promenade, the riverside or numerous woodlands bring juy to the soul.