The anticipation, the eagerness, the sheer joy in which young children look forward to an Event (capitalized) is a beautiful thing to behold. This past week, Jonas had one such Event at his kindergarten. He was so excited about it, that from Monday on, he could talk of nothing else. Also, he could never remember what day it was. On Monday, he insisted it was to be that evening, and insisted the same for every following night until the appropriate one (Thursday) finally arrived. From what I could gather, it was some sort of Autumn Festival involving trolls. Imagine “Where the Wild Things Are.” That is what the trolls looked like.
I gathered most of this from a story acted out by a multitude of German kindergarteners (who in Germany are as young as three, and as old as six) carrying paper cut-outs of said trolls. The story was something about a particularly small troll, and involved the trolls blowing leaves off of the trees (explaining, I would suppose, why they all fall off in Autumn. Trolls. Natürlich.) At the climax of the festival, all the little children paraded outside in the darkness carrying paper lanterns, which dangled before them from a wire attached to a stick. They were lighted from the inside by either a candle, or (for the safety conscious) a small electric bulb such as those one finds on Christmas trees. I liked the effect of each in its own way. The candles flickered, but the lights swayed to and fro from inside their shells, not always in sync with the motion of their respective lanterns. In the darkness, the colored-paper light-filled orbs dancing through the night in front of their tiny bearers was fantastic, if by that word we mean it was out of a fantasy. Fantastical, maybe.
From this we may take a way several lessons.
First, those events which children remember and look forward to are often anticipated for good reason.
Second, Americans are missing out–we only get Halloween.
Third, children are always cuter than you ever imagined they could possibly be.
Laterne, Laterne, Sonne Mond und Sterne!
Brenne auf mein Licht, brenne auf mein Licht,
aber nur mein Liebe Laterne nicht!
–Children’s song (Jonas sang this all week.)
Translation (by me):
Lantern, lantern, son, moon, and Stars!
Burn upon my light, burn upon my light,
but only not my dear lantern!
In other news, I have a kinder song in German repeating a few select lines through my mind. “Ti! Lieber Ti-i-i-o, gib mir doch mal mein Bananenbrot!” (roughly translated: Ti! dear Ti-i-i-o, give me my Banana bread. Banana bread. Natürlich.)