New Barossa tradition: Der Laternenlauf

The Lantern Walk is a tradition in Germany, especially loved by children.

On St Martin’s Day in November each year the children gather and make lanterns, which they parade through the streets of their town in the dark winter night.

St Martin was a fourth century soldier knight, who one winter’s night meeting a beggar dressed in rags he cut his cloak and gave half to the beggar.

An Australian November does not fit well with the story or the tradition, and so the Barossa German Language Association has been holding its Lantern Walk in August.

A record crowd of about 100 gathered at the Joy Rice Centre, Nuriootpa on Saturday, August 4 and enjoyed the festivities.

Like the German children, the Australian children made their own lanterns, they sang  traditional German songs and they carried their lanterns, lit by battery candles, through the darkness.

For the adults the highlight, apart from watching the children and joining in the walk, was the food.

The Barossa German Language Association is fortunate to have among its members, Reto Gasser, a chef, who makes every occasion very special.

He served German hot dogs with sauerkraut, Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) and soup, there were German cakes and slices and warming Glühwein for the adults and Apfelschorle (sparkling apple juice) for the children.

The laughter and smiling faces suggest the Lantern Walk will become a Barossa tradition.

Not everyone was smiling, one child was crying, because he didn’t want to go home which proves the occasion was a success.