Our study of Fall/Autumn came to a crescendo with our Autumn Party! Instead of focusing on the traditional holiday of Halloween, we learned about the origin of Halloween and the celebration of Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). It all began as a Gaelic/Celtic holiday in modern day Ireland...
We began our day around our community bonfire with an introduction of Samhain and where it was located on our globe. Back when Samhain was celebrated the villages and towns would come together around one huge bonfire! They believed this fire would cleanse them and protect them in the oncoming cold winter months. This holiday also fell during what they believed as a liminal time - when the Otherworld would cross over into the real world meaning fairies and spirits would be flying around. They would leave food and trinkets out for these fairies so that they would protect their families and livestock over the winter.
The kiddos and I sat around our fire warming our fingers and our toes. We learned about another country, their past traditions, and guessed where Halloween came from. One particular answer was "The Zoos!" from our friend T. The kiddos were intrigued with our globe which led to discovering other countries around the world. Of course we had to find our own state (or as close to it as possible), too! :-)
*Mask Making Invitation*
During Samhain and the liminal time, good fairies and bad fairies were believed to be around. The bad spirits would play tricks on the villagers so in order to fool them they would create masks and disguises!
Inspired by this tradition, we dressed up in our costumes and made our own unique masks to wear. As usual, this activity led to some interesting dialogue.
"I'm making a rainbow chin! And three cheeks on each side!" - T
F was having trouble with the glue bottle and Mrs. Tory encouraged him saying that gravity would help if he held it upside down. F replied, "Gravity pulls you down!"
"Where do feathers come from?" asked T.
"Hawks" - replied F
"Birds, parrots, toucans!" - T