Push to Eliminate the Christian Element of the Saint Martin Tradition in Nordrhein-Westfalen and Hessen

Country: Germany

Date of incident: November 5, 2013

The Chairman of the Left-wing party in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region, Rüdiger Sagel, suggested to rename the celebration and remove the religious overtones in the local day-care centres. “In many Nordrhein-Westfalen day-care centres there are an increasing number of children from different religions.” ... „”the day-care should be an interdenominational space,” says Sagel, and claims that the day-cares are influencing the children regarding their religion. After a storm of protests, the Left-wing party withdrew the suggestion.

Saint Martin, a Saint in the Catholic tradition, who was a Roman Soldier that went on to become the Bishop of Tours, is celebrated by a parade of lanterns, and is much appreciated in the community. In Hessen, another region of Germany, the Celebration was renamed „Sun-Moon-and-Star“ Celebration, because of a soup that is traditionally served there. The „Islamische Zeitung“ (Islamic News) found the whole thing to be „absurd“ and poses the question: „Why would Muslim children take offense to Saint Martin?“

After many protests the left wing party withdrew the suggestion arguing that St. Martin was an interculturally accepted celebration which they would not want to abolish.

Stern.de http://www.stern.de/panorama/feldzug-gegen-diskriminierung-linke-will-sankt-martin-an-den-kragen-2069256.html

Bild.de http://www.bild.de/news/inland/kindergaerten/kita-schafft-st-martin-ab-33267130.bild.html

Passauer Neue Presse http://www.pnp.de/region_und_lokal/stadt_und_landkreis_passau/passau_stadt/1101180_Sankt-Martin-abschaffen-Linken-Idee-sorgt-fuer-Entruestung.html