After Every Winter, Comes Spring
This past winter wasn’t the coldest and it wasn’t the bleakest, but it was still winter.
We got out in spurts for sunlight and fresh air but stayed close to home. We spent lots of time inside, hunkered down, cozy together.
It wasn’t the coldest winter ever, but it was still hard to get outside. When it was snowing, it was slightly easier, because snow is a great motivation to get out there and play in the white stuff.
We didn’t get a lot of snow this year.
My son, loves the snow, would stay out there all day in a t-shirt, if he could, my daughter, likes it for a few minutes and then wonders, why? Why are we out here in this? What is this? and asks to come inside.
I feel like my youngest does. I am not a fan of the cold, the winter or the snow.
It wasn’t the coldest winter ever and it wasn’t the snowiest winter ever, but it was hard to get outside and made more difficult because, at the end of this winter, I injured my lower back.
My body needed rest.
Sometimes we need rest and we need hibernation and we need to hunker down.
But the rest and the hibernation and the hunkering down becomes too much. I was looking forward to spring and the warmer weather and the greenery.
I was looking forward to Beltane.
Beltane Brings the Eruption of Spring
Beltane is the time of year where spring is at its peak and hopefully, it feels that way. On the wheel of the year, it falls between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.
It is when, while doing my usual before the festival day, cleaning, I wonder if I can take the chance and put away the winter jackets and mittens for another year. I usually nod to the Canadian climate and choose to err on the side of caution, I put away the mittens and hats and leave out the winter jackets.
Beltane is a fire festival.
Beltane is a celebration of fertility and abundance and of the energies that bring forth life and growth.
It is the source, where those associations of pagans leaping over bonfires and dancing naked around the maypole came from.
Beltane is our Love Day and we celebrate and honour love in all its myriad ways.
For this year, we had floated the idea of going on our first ever family camping trip and the idea of being around a fire outside at Beltane was tempting, to me, the camping averse.
Beltane in Quarantine
Our Beltane celebrations often include going for a family hike, collecting dandelions to make salves, inviting friends and family over to gather and eat with.
We were making plans for Beltane.
Then the orders to social distance came and our province went into lockdown.
We live in an apartment, without a yard, a balcony or greenspace.
All the beautiful amenities we have by living here, like parks, trails by the waterfront and conservation areas, were closed.
Our Beltane was going to look different this year.
Traditions Remain in Quarantine
There are traditions that aren’t entirely dependent on the outdoors that I do each year.
One of those traditions, is choosing a plant, herb or flower to study and learn more about. I do this with the goal of including a new ingredient for use in my kitchen. I have included the children in this by asking them if there is a plant or flower or herb they would like to learn more about.
This year, sunflowers were chosen.
Talking about seeds and the sunflower, we wondered if the black sunflowers seeds that we buy from the store and eat would grow if we planted them in soil. We are waiting to see what happens.
5 Ways to Celebrate Beltane With Kids Indoors During Quarantine
Central to any of the festive days, is to acknowledge them. The celebration is the extension of the acknowledgement, of bringing the energies of the day into our life. Here are a few things we are doing to have Beltane in quarantine with kids. It’s going to be memorable and exciting and…inside.
- Look at Pictures to Reflect on Growth
Another tradition we have with the children is to look at pictures from last year at this time and point out how much they have grown. Show them how much taller they are now, say things like, “Remember those shoes? They wouldn’t fit your feet now!” We also like to look at activities they have done and point out the skills they have gained during the year, “Remember when you making that jump on your scooter was so hard? You can do that now, in a flash!”
This is fun for everyone and a yearly reminder to print the photos…sometimes this reminder works. We look through the pictures and talk about all the ways they have grown, both in their physical bodies and in skills gained.
- Plant Seeds Inside
Our windowsill is becoming crowded with all the seedlings we have going. It is an experiment to see how each plant is growing and an exploration to figure out why the seeds might not be taking. I found seed packets in a cupboard from last year, we planted them in their boxes and these seeds didn’t germinate yet. We pondered different reasons for this, like maybe the seeds were too old, or maybe they were given too much water or maybe they don’t like this particular soil. We are also trying out an avocado pit in a glass jar.
- Make Drawings of Flowers for the Windows
Flowers are the decoration of Beltane. Our access to real flowers might be less but we can create drawings of flowers, we can make flowers out of construction paper, we can build flowers out of pipe cleaners and loose parts and decorate our windows and home with new creations.
- Have A Drumming Party
The bonfire isn’t possible but the drumming and dancing in the living room can take place with full abandonment. Our children love drumming on buckets, pots and pans and the coffee tables. To hear the sounds of Beltane, take a look at the Drums of Beltane by the Beltane Fire Society.
- Bake the Bread
Bread is a staple of all the festivals. For Beltane, the breads feature oats, eggs, seeds and/ or honey. A traditional bread to make on Beltane is bannock, which can be made over the fire. For those of us without access to the fire, it works wonderfully in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop.
I like to make braided egg bread. This is one of the breads I made for our wedding and each time I make it, it reminds me of that blue sky, blissful day.
Rituals have the power to strengthen our connections and to remind us to appreciate what we have. Our celebration will be different this year but the love in our hearth and home is abundant.
If you celebrate Beltane with your family, I would love to know what you do to honour the day in your home or if you have a spring tradition, I would love to hear what it is and how you include your children.