Happy Autumn Equinox! Today is the perfect day to talk about how to celebrate seasonal festivals with loved ones, especially children.
The society many of us live in has forgotten about our connection to Mama Earth. Some of us are far removed from the foundations of the seasons that we don’t always recognize the blessings in them. What we need to remember is that nature’s rhythm is our rhythm, and the best way to acknowledge the changing of the seasons is to celebrate them.
Seasonal celebrations aren’t occasions that have to happen on the first day of the season at a specific time in a set location. It doesn’t have to be rushed or over the top. Creating a festival for a solstice or equinox is exciting and something you and your family can plan together. You can cook and feast together using a special tablecloth with appropriate patterns for the occasion – florals for spring, tropical fruit for summer, leaves for autumn, and snowflakes for winter. You can also decorate the space, dress for the event, and perform any new or old spiritual rituals and divination ceremonies.
Autumn Equinox is the season of balance, abundance, and one that honors the harvest. That’s what my family and I have done; we honor the harvest with a fall festival. Every year is slightly different, but there are a few things that never change. We always gather, eat, play, and share.
Our festival in 2019 is one of my favorites because Luna was 1 year old, and her reaction to the occasion will be forever priceless. Our ceremony occurred on Mama Earth herself. My husband and I started the day by decorating our backyard with autumn-themed decor, and we even added some fun playthings for our moonchild. Then we prepared our meal of butternut squash with garlic and herbs, sweet potato casserole, and baked apples with cinnamon. We made art out of leaves which served as our offering, and we sent well-wishes to the environment.
We reflected on all the wonderful things that have happened in our lives since the spring equinox and discussed what we enjoyed most about the warm summer days. We made plans to maintain that warmth through the winter and what we will do to finish out the year strong. After collecting fallen leaves from the trees, we concluded the sacred celebration with a tea ceremony and song on our instruments.
Winter festivals always feel magical and cozy, even when the weather is mild. We usually begin the day hiking. As we celebrate the longest night of the year, we typically lounge around the fireplace and decorate the pine cones we collected previously with paint and glitter. We incorporate other traditional winter elements into our evening, too. We hang paper or felt snowflakes around the house, light white candles, drink hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, and bake cookies from scratch.
Winter solstice also feels good because it’s the season to hideaway. It can be healthy to retract from the world a little bit and use the time to rest.
Spring is the blossoming season, and it brings new, delightful energy. There is an awakening that happens from the dormancy of winter. As many elements of nature are going through a transformation, so are we. There is also a sweet smell of love and laughter in the air that awakens our senses, and I always feel intoxicated by it.
Our spring festivals have become a little more eventful and full of loveliness compared to our other seasonal celebrations. The arrival of the warmer days and restored energy from resting during winter always has me feeling light on my feet.
Earlier this year, I put together an event for my family and a few friends in the backyard that included several blankets, charcuterie boards, baskets of flowers, flavored sparkling and still water, and books of poems, sonnets, and love stories. Then I placed each blanket with its setup in a circle. We ate, read passages from the books on our blankets, and talked about the seeds we wanted to plant this season for renewal. We used some of the flower petals from our baskets as part of our offering to Mama Earth. Once we finished in our circle, we played few rounds of corn hole and threw the Frisbee around.
I also set up a space for Luna to paint, play with flowers, and gather pieces of nature to contribute to the offering. At some point, we ran around like free birds to play tag and soccer, too!
The following week we replenished our bird feeder with nuts, seeds, and dried berries for cardinals and blue jays. We also planted a flower, fruit, and vegetable garden that included blueberries, strawberries, Roma tomatoes, oregano, sweet basil, jalapeno peppers, mint, and cilantro. Not only do we eat from the garden, the deer and other wildlife eat from our garden as well.
Summertime screams fun in the sun! We have one priority, and that is to swim. Whether we’re at the beach or in the pool, we love Mama Earth and the healing waters she provides us with to cleanse and maintain life.
For solstice this year, we spent the early morning doing yoga under the sun. It was also the beginning of us getting righteous tans. We spent the rest of the day in and out of the pool, eating pizza and indulging in paletas and other frozen fruit treats. We safely continued our celebration throughout summer with some of our closest family and friends.
Incorporating these types of rituals into my children’s lives is a declaration of our ability to stay connected to nature in mind, body, and spirit. It’s an illustration of how much we love one another and how important it is to gather in a fun, creative, and caring way.