Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Every year around the end of November kindergarten aged children make paper lanterns, these are then paraded through the streets hung off the end of a specially purchased plastic stick which has a tiny light bulb on the end of it to illuminate the lantern.
Not having been in Germany with kindergarten aged children I've missed out on the significance of why they do this, could be to do with oncoming winter or Christmas...who knows.

Anyway, at Jasmine's grundschule they make lanterns and we have a whole evening event devoted to a laternefest. This was last night.

5pm kickoff around a fire (carefully roped off to keep curious smaller siblings away) all the classes gather with their different lanterns (I think there is almost an unspoken competition between the teachers of the different classes - the class of the head teacher yesterday had lanterns that were green frogs with boing-y legs, definitely the winners) they sing a couple of songs and then parade off through the woods class by class until only the parents are left in the playground chatting and drinking glühwein until the children make it back to school again - good job the 2nd of the escaped prisoners from last week was caught yesterday, especially as we've since learnt that they were very close on Friday night (like near the bakers that we use, kind of close - should clearly have taken the whole thing with a bit more ernst rather than laughing at it all in our we're so funny British manner!)
Anyway, the children safely paraded through the woods, we drank glühwein and then there's more singing around the fire - well the children sing, the parents stand and chat, loudly so that we can hear what we're saying over the noise of the pesky kids singing and then each class retires to its classroom for a little show...

Jasmine's class were doing the German version (obviously) of a Hans Christian Andersen story that I know as the Emporer's New Clothes, except this time it's the Kaiser. They performed the first half and we were then told that on the last day of term after the Christmas singing we're all invited to, the class will perform the whole of this 'theaterstück' (advance warning to grandparents!!). Herr Bartnizky (Jasmine's teacher) made the mistake then of coming and sitting with me and Valerie (us foreign mom's stick together - Valerie is French and has been here as long as we have) so I asked him whether the Kaisers neue kleidung was what I know of as the emporer's new clothes...I thought it was but I hate to make assumptions. He confirmed that it was and of course my English humour couldn't resist but then comment about the nakedness of the kaiser/emporer (what can I say...I blame the glühwein - it's lethal).

I learnt later from Jasmine that she has the role of the child at the end of the piece who points out the lack of clothing to everyone...well cast I think! Herr B must be thinking 'like mother like daughter'...I wonder if there is a German equivalent for that?

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