St Martin rides again at lantern-lit King’s College

Lantern-carrying youngsters will follow a horse backed ‘saint’ around Old Aberdeen’s King’s College quadrangle on Friday (November 9) to celebrate St Martin’s Day.

Staff at the University of Aberdeen’s Rocking Horse Nursery have organised the parade as part of the European-wide celebrations for St Martin, a former Roman soldier turned monk who was renowned for his generosity.

The most famous legend surrounding St Martin is that he once used his sword to cut his cloak in half so he could share it with a beggar during a snowstorm, saving the man's life – a scene that they will re-enact during the parade.

It is the sixth year the Rocking Horse has staged the event and for 2012 around 40 children will carry lanterns around the quadrangle at King's College. They will follow a horse ridden by music lecturer Dr Frauke Jurgensen, who takes the role of St Martin.

The parade, which traditionally celebrates the end of the agrarian year and the beginning of harvest, originated in France but spread to Eastern Europe before becoming popular in Germany and the Netherlands.

Lantern-carriers will meet in the nursery garden and warm up with mulled wine, tea and biscuits at 5.30pm and everyone is welcome to join the celebration.

The parade will be followed by a service of music, songs and stories in King's College Chapel led by the University Chaplain Reverend Dr Easter Smart. She said: "Re-enacting St Martin's generous act is an appropriate way to lift our spirits at a time of Remembrance because his sword, which was once used in war, was used to serve the neediest.

"Aside from the symbolism, the parade is also wonderful fun for the children who attend nursery on campus, and who all made their own lanterns for the procession. There's a magical quality to the evening and it is an uplifting experience for everyone involved."

The parade will take place at 5.30pm at King's College quadrangle. For more details please contact