Saturday, May 7, 2011

may faire

May Faire is probably my favorite festival of the year.  Partially this is due to the lightness of heart and spirit that accompany the warmer and longer days coming to the Pacific Northwest in tandem with this joyous observance.  Mostly though I love the strong sense of community that this celebration brings as we commemorate the Spring (or Summer depending on one's seasonal calendar).  It seems we've spent many a cold, wet day tucked away in our individual homes and this is the moment we come out and not only join together in song and dance but fall back into the warm and greening arms of Mother Nature as kindred cousins sharing the stories and crafty goodness that the colder, solitary months created.

The Waldorf school is such a huge part of our lives and, outside of our families, it is the backbone of our social world.  May Faire (as well as other festivals there) helps to anchor us in our annual rhythm in which community plays such a large part.  It's one thing to take note of the breathing of the earth and the changing of the seasons on our own.  It's quite another to have a whole village recognize the incredible value of reconnecting to the harmony and beauty implicit in the seasonal round of festivals.  As Father Sun plays hide and seek behind the clouds this day, we enjoy the company of friends and family as we watch the Maypole and Morris dancers and share our picnic lunch on the lawn.

Beneath the dancing, hair braiding, eating of sweets and the chaos of the children's play, there is a sense of reverence in many activities and, unlike many carnivals or amusement parks, I don't feel like the faire sets us up to seek or experience manufactured happiness.  There just exists in its participants and events a deep and comfortable, quiet joy.  A joy we experience together.

At home this morning, we prepared by putting together fresh Spring garlands (for a quick tutorial click here).  We also brought a basket of ankle bells mommy had made the night before to share with friends.  (Perfectly delightful for the little one's as they skipped around the Maypole!)
This year Naiya was able to really participate in all that the festival had to offer.  While I enjoyed and was inspired by the artistry and innovation in the craft market, our dear daughter partook of the more kid-compelling elements of the day.  There was an old fashioned cake walk, a puppet show, a wandering pocket lady, face painting and hair braiding.

The very clever parents of the children in the grades also provided us with an array of wholesome pastimes.  We got to search for buried treasure in the sand, fish with our feet for jewels in the pond...

make our own bubble wands...

 to create giant bubbles...

tie fairie rings, race paper boats in the creek...

and ride in a donkey cart. 

The freedom and merriment of Spring are upon us with all its color and light.

here is a branch of snowy May
a branch the fairies gave us
who would like to dance today
with the branch the fairies gave us?
dance away, dance away
holding high the branch of May

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