Monday, November 19, 2012

St Martin's Parade!

This year was my - cough - I mean, PJ's first Saint Martin's parade. It was totally rad!

It started with a shared dinner with new friends who also happen to live in our same little town. The mom and I met on the playground when we had first moved to Schwetzingen. Meeting her was like taking a nice sip of an excellent wine (her) right after having taking a swig of vinegar wine (the other moms that stopped talking to me when I told them I was 'already' working). Our little guys are about the same age but couldn't be more different.

Her little guy is a quiet watcher. He walks along the outside of the group, checking out the dynamics and options. Only then does he his move towards a toy or a person that interests him. He isn't one for conflicts and tends to hand over or move away from whatever toy another child finds interesting. Lets call him Watcher.

PJ is, um, the opposite. He dives right on in...he may not know what he is diving into, but he is right in the center. And he is the guy who is helping himself to everyone else's toys.

It isn't always easy to be Watcher when PJ is around but over the past couple of months, he has gotten a bit tougher, a bit stronger, and he has even learned to 'schmipf' (scold) with PJ from time to time. Even with all that, buddies they are and I hope buddies they will stay. Cause the mommies and the daddies get along...and how often does that happen?

After dinner, we got all bundled up, grabbed our lanterns, and headed out the door towards the castle. The Watcher was a bit smoother with his paper lantern than PJ who took the more energetic "slam against the ground" method before losing interest.

PJ with his lantern. 

Our new friends!

At the castle hundreds of people gathered together to parade through the castle garden. We were led through the dark by a brass band. From the far back we could watch the dancing lanterns weave and pop through the flowers and the trees towards the castle itself. When we finally caught up, we joined the crowd in a massive, closed circle. In the middle of the circle pranced a large dark horse with a knight - who later became St. Martin - dressed as we imagine a knight from biblical times would be dressed, including a massive cloak. 

All those little lights are lanterns! All the way to the castle (building on the left).

Its a long walk and PJ has little legs.

Apparently there was a bit of a play in which a St. Martin on his horse offered part of his cloak to a poor, cold beggar. I missed all of that because a band was playing and PJ and I were busy dancing in the back.

After the beggar had his cloak and the knight morphed into St. Martin, the crowd slowly meandered towards the castle doors. There each child got a croissant-like thing. I'm not sure what that is suppose to represent but I'm pretty sure PJ thought it was super yummy.

Pickle, PJ, Watcher, and Watcher's Mommy

To close out the night both families went to a temporary ice skating ring set up on the platz in front of the castle and enjoyed a hot wine or beer.

PJ with his buddy.

Then we slowly walked back home, all of us tired but satisfied.

It was an awesome night. I'm looking forward to our second year!


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