Bonn · Thousands of participants make the St Martin’s parade in Bonn one of the largest in the Rhineland. Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan announced in English: „St. Martin is the man who is riding the horse."
Thousands of participants make the St Martin’s parade in Bonn one of the largest in the Rhineland. Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan announced in English: „St. Martin is the man who is riding the horse." A colourful sea of light illuminated the city centre of Bonn, when 1,700 children and their parents joined the large St Martin’s parade and walked from Münsterplatz to the old City Hall. About 3,000 people came to see this parade, which is one of the largest in the Rhineland, with eleven groups on foot and seven music ensembles.
Amongst the many colourful lanterns, most of them with LED lights rather than candles, were some taking the form of the popular German children’s tv personalities Maus and Elefant and others taking the form of many „movie stars“. There were many „Minions“ as well as unicorns, animals of all kinds and you could also spot milk cartons, tins, cans and balloons turned into lanterns, all handmade by the children, maybe with the help of their parents or kindergarten or school teachers. The shine in the kids’ eyes was also visible.
„Once we are past the City Hall, it will get really interesting“, said eight-year-old Paul, who wouldn’t disclose where he would go with his friends for the traditional „Schnörzen“, a singing tradition to get sweets. „I won’t say, so there won’t be many other kids there“ was his explanation, which made his dad Jens laugh. Equally happy was the group around COP23 participant Marianna Daza from La Paz in Bolivia. They experienced a St Martin’s parade for the first time and were fascinated by the happy interaction of children and adults.
After the heated discussion during the summer, if the parade can happen during the UN World Climate Conference, the decision was made to choose a route through the pedestrian zone, which municipal police officer Harald Brandt jokingly commented on: „I am actually not even needed here today.“ The Bonn cathedral wasn’t present with the chiming of bells but as a miniature model, carried by the altar boys and girls. The students of the Emilie-Heyermann-Realschule brought geese - not real ones, stuffed toy animals.
At the Sterntor, Martin Heide played the role of Saint Martin and shared his long red coat with the beggar (Klaus Lang). When the parade arrived at the bonfire in front of the old City Hall, Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan and City Dean Monsignore Wilfried Schumacher greeted the participants together with the City Council officials. He also welcomed the international guests and said: „St. Martin is the man who is riding the horse“. He was visibly delighted to be showing COP23 participants a very special example of German traditions. Among great applause, the girls and boys of the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Gymnasiums were announced as winners of this year’s lantern competition.
Original text: Stefan Hermes. Translation: Mareike Graepel