Romy Fernandez
November 9th, Utrecht. As soon it gets dark, children up to the age of 11 or 12 go door to door with hand-crafted lanterns made of hollowed-out sugar beet or, more recently, paper, singing songs such as "Sinte Sinte Maarten," hoping to receive candy in return, similar to Halloween. St.Martin's Day (Sint Maarten) is an old harvest festival that is celebrated in many European countries and precedes the fasting period of Advent, which begins on November 12. It is named after St. Martin of Tours, a revered European saint who was known for his kindness to strangers. In Utrecht, it's celebrated with a big parade full of children and not so children carrying and wearing amazing light sculptures.