Honouring the Wheel of the Year with Seasonal Celebrations
Honouring the seasons is a beautiful way to tune yourself into nature and connect with Mother Earth. There are eight festivals throughout the ‘wheel of the year’, which the earliest pagan peoples celebrated.
The festivals are connected to the changes of season that occur as our earth rotates around the sun. Seasons in the Northern Hemisphere are the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, which is why I designed the poster with dates and information for both, so it is universal. How you experience them will depend on where you are in the world!
Celebrating these shifts in the seasons is nondogmatic and something anyone can do, no matter your religion, age, country or gender.
If you live near the equator (like I do) then the season changes are more subtle, with day lengths not changing so drastically between the peak of winter and the peak of summer (the solstices), however, there are changes to notice ~ this is part of this process of learning, of connecting to your place in the world and observing the abundance or feel of your landscape.
However, if you are in temperate climates, you'll have obvious seasons that will influence the ways in which you live and the foods you eat more noticeably.
Ultimately, celebrating is giving gratitude for what is provided to us for your sustenance throughout the year and find ways to give back to continue the harvests!
Solstices occur on days experiencing the most sunlight (summer solstice) and the least sunlight (winter solstice). Equinoxes occur when parts of the Earth experiences equal amounts of daylight and dark—in the spring and fall.
You can learn about the science behind these climatic shifts on earth and then communicate your knowledge to your children at the capacity they can understand. Bringing personal meaning into the visible changes through celebration is using your hearts and hands to learn.
“One common misconception that seasons are due to how close or far the Earth is to the sun. The changing position of the Earth’s tilt is the reason for the differences in temperature and length of daylight that distinguish the seasons. When the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is leaning toward the sun, it receives direct sunlight. The warmth of direct rays causes spring and then summer in that part of the globe. When the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is leaning away from the sun, it receives more indirect sunlight. The cooling effects of more indirect sunlight cause autumn and winter. Because of the Earth’s approximately 23.5º tilt, the seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are reversed, about six months apart from each other.”
As part of our Nature Kids Permaculture Program, we provide 'print and play' colour in posters and 'how to guides' with fun ways to pause, reflect and honour the seasonal changes as they occur. By facilitating this as adults, it helps children to connect more deeply with the subtle transformations happening in our climate. Plus we do it through the lens of the Permaculture principles in action!
As our journey throughout our 12-month program unfolds, we add new information, activities and adventures to celebrate these seasonal shifts, to make it easy to design these eight celebrations into your life - no matter where you are in the world.
It can be as simple as sharing a related activity together for some quality time together, enjoying some arts and crafts to decorate your house or add to your Book of Kin and usually always includes a special meal dedicated to the event.
If you want to see some of the colour-in resources we provide to our members, you can check out our designs here!
About the Wheel of the Year
The themes of birth, death and rebirth are played out across a year that is divided into light and dark, male and female, sun and moon, growth and rest, and heat and cold. The continuous cycle lends itself to the image of a wheel. The ancients and their predecessors saw time as a wheel or spiral divided by eight festivals.
The important thing to note about these moments of pause during the seasonal cycle is the opportunity to connect with the land and with the energy of each season, as it shifts, and what that means internally and externally. The land is our mother; she feeds us, shelters us, and gives us comfort and enjoyment. The festivals or celebrations give us a chance to give something back to her and honour all that she does.
If you are a parent or carer interested in a Nature Kids Permaculture program with training and resources for nature play, join us for online access today!
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