I’ve recently become very excited about the possibility of creating some celebratory traditions for my little family. I have been reading about the importance of festivals in family life and of acknowledging the in-and-out-breath rhythms of the seasons. I think celbration and ritual is such a valubale and important part of family life which encourages unity, warmth and joy. The first family festival that I am looking at is Halloween.
It has been so inspiring looking through what others have done and deciding what to do here in Australia where Halloween happens in springitime. Here are a couple of places from which I’ve drawn some inspiration: http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/spring.html, http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/10/07/halloween-in-the-waldorf-home/ There is also heaps of food for thought in 'Heaven on Earth' by Sharifa Oppenheimer.
So far what I’ve figured out is that we will have my family over to share in the celebrations with us. An idea that I read about somewhere recently was to have each family member bring a dish made by a relative who has lived before us. This sounded to me like a fantastic way of remembering passed ancestors (I know this relates more to all souls day, but I thought to begin with, we could incorporate it as part of our Halloween festival). I’m really excited to see what the others bring and to hear the history behind each dish. It should be quite multicultural too. In my family we have, Greek, Malaysian, Irish, Scottish and English Heritage.
We’ll have a magical theme focused on the elementals (faeries etc), growth, new life and warm, light, vibrant colours. I am very keen to steer away from the darker ghosts/spirits and ‘evil’ theme which is so popular in the more commercial Halloween festivities.
I am going to include a lot of homemade beeswax candles as part of the decorating. I thought this would tie in really well with spring and the bees that go with it. The light from the candles will also signify the increasing light as we head towards the summer months. I’m also in the process of making a table cloth in a spring green colour with a faint butterfly print and a table runner in fresh spring colours. Aria and I will also have a great time collecting flowers/leaves/seeds/twigs from the nature surrounding our house to use as decoration for the table. She loves collecting things for our table each night (there are so many rose petals and lavender buds around at the moment!), so I’m sure this is something she’ll really enjoy.
We’re starting to include a few songs about springtime, sun, spring animals and light into our daily activities. Here is an example of a song that I have found ties in really well (with a couple of slight alterations)-
I’m really looking forward to our first lantern walk and I think Aria will love it. What a magical form of celebration for a little child! We are starting to make our paper mache lanterns http://uncommongrace.typepad.com/uncommongrace/2008/11/that-i-may-bear-a-light.html , http://www.instructables.com/id/SIW4EWYFVW21DE6/ which is turning out to be really messy, but a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see how they turn out.
I have recently finished our spring blanket, (photos to come), so if it’s a cold or windy night, Aria and I will wrap ourselves up in the bright lively colours as we walk along with the family. I have also started telling stories about the spring Faeries and all the gifts that they are leaving for us at the moment. Story time takes place each afternoon after Aria’s sleep, usually outside and under the blanket.
This is just the beginning of what I hope will become a much treasured family tradition, and as Aria gets older (and more children arrive in the family), we’ll add more bit and pieces to the whole thing. I like the idea of a Halloween hunt – a search for what the faeries have left us and creating more involved costumes with a spring faery/goblin/elementals type theme. (This year we’ll just add some magical faerie touches to our clothes – but not a ‘full’ costume. I have had a very long meeting with glandular fever all winter, so my energy levels are very low and I have to prioritise. I love dressing up – so this will be something I’ll look forward to for next year.)
Many loving and festive wishes to you all!