More weird stuff appearing in German shops…

OK – the Christmas goodies started appearing in the shops in late August, the Halloween merchandise in early September, and now, finally in October a small display of essential products to mark a German festival which is actually celebrated at this time of the year! Saint Martinmas.

Sankt Martin

Paper lanterns and battery powered illumination sticks… but then you knew that, right?

Of course it is questionable as to why so many pre-made paper lanterns are on sale, because any German child hoping to take part in the festival will of course make their own out of card, translucent paper and glue. In the old days the lanterns were lit with candles stuck inside them. Yes… I think we can all spot the design flaw there… toddler, fire, paper lantern…. so modern day technology has come to the rescue with those plastic sticks with a bulb on a wire at one end and a battery and switch at the other. These are variously used for sword fighting, whipping your siblings, beheading the prize dahlias, poking your parents and scaring the neighbour’s cat. By the time St. Martinmas comes around the plastic bulb refuses to light… and at this point every plastic illumination stick within a radius of 400 km has sold out. Any parent who fails to provide their child with an electric stick for the St. Martinmas parade is officially a Rabenmutter (bad mother) in Germany… so it is wise to panic-buy and stockpile.

Sorry… I should have told you this a month ago….




Filed under About Germany, children in germany, German festivals, Life in Germany, shopping in Germany

5 responses to “More weird stuff appearing in German shops…

  1. This was funny to read and brought back some memories.

    You could have mentioned the accrued clutter of lanterns in the basement over the years. With two kids á four lanterns (kindergarten through 1st grade), the top shelf fills up quickly.
    Sweet childhood memories… until you finally throw them out. 🙂

    • It always seemed to rain on St. Martin’s day here in the Rheinland… our lanterns invarably turned to soggy mush by about verse three of “Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne…”

  2. Sweet memories indeed. The designs haven’t really changed since I was a kid. I wonder if LIDL or Aldi sell them here in the UK, because I want one 🙂

  3. Sine

    I have fond memories of St. Martin. Loved the lantern walks. And yes, we did still have the real candles. I lived to tell the tale.

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