Monday, November 12, 2012


So today was Laternefest. I have been pretty excited about it for a while. Little 3-5 year olds running around a night with their little self-made lanterns? Singing songs about light? With their sweet little matching mittens and hats? I was prepared to die of cuteness.

Here's what I forgot: Laternefest is part of Martinstag, which is a religious holiday. And is what I have to say about religion:  Religion does some amazing things, also some horrible things. But what I think most people forget when they talk about religion, is that, most of the time, religion does really really really boring things. Seriously, if religion were only amazing or only terrible the churches would be packed. But they are not, because most religious services make people do this.

So Laternefest started in the Catholic church and I didn't even have to understand a word of German to know it was boring. Everyone was bored. If I am going to be bored it is at least going to be in a meeting where I believe the doctrine being taught.

After that we went out into the streets with the little lanterns, but Sophie was kind of freaked out to walk in the middle of the street because we have brainwashed her to think that means death, and Jojo's little electric tea-light kept going out, and Gracie started howling wasn't all I imagined in my dreams. At least the lanterns were pretty charming.

By the way, earlier this week I found myself thinking,"Why don't we have awesome holiday traditions in the USA like they do here?" Then I reviewed the holidays and realized our holidays are SUPER AWESOME. We carve squash into scary faces to remind us of death. We paint eggs to remind us of Christ. We explode gunpowder into pretty designs to remind us of freedom. Our holidays are SWEET! I have never really gone all out for holidays, but now I think I will. That's what I really really like about living in different countries: it makes you reevaluate your normal.

Happy Laternefest. Maybe we will not celebrate it next year (unless Sophie has a speaking role, which she might. Ughhhh).


Patricia said...

In Berlin, at JFK, I think it was the kids in kindergarten or Vorshule and 1st grade that participated in Lanternefest. They made their own little paper lanterns that had REAL candles lit in them and we walked on a path through the woods with lots of fallen dry leaves. It was really cool to see a long line on over 100 little kids and their lanterns. But I always smiled when I thought of those 5-year-old kids carrying lit candles in paper lantern through dry leaves.

Bryan Lewis said...

I hate it when I look forward to something and imagine how cool it will be, and then it totally falls short of my expectations. Whenever that happens, I just remember that Calvin and Hobbes story when Calvin saves up all the cereal tops to get the beanie and then the beanie is really lame.

I hoe you get to fire bottle rockets for Sylvester! That's always fun.

Becky said...

I agree with I try to have low expectations at all times...then I am NEVER disappointed. Easier said than done.

I like the idea of reevaluating your normal! I am so jealous that you are living in a foreign country AND that you are so great at it!