This year’s free Family Beltane event, held in collaboration with the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Saturday 23rd April, was attended by around three hundred people. Event organiser Cat, an unstoppable force of enthusiasm, tells of a day full of joy and memory-making…
I felt very calm, relaxed and happy as I set up tables and put out dress-up clothes, art materials and some puppets for the children to play with as they arrived. I was looking forward to a nice quiet afternoon with a potential future Beltane audience! Maybe they would start coming in to the Scottish Storytelling Centre some time in drips and drabs after the 1.30pm start time or perhaps families would just happen upon our event whilst munching lunch at the lovely cafe. Maybe my mum’s flyering effort in the High Street, scant on meandering families for the fact that a cycling event was closing off the road, would draw in some craft-loving little kids?
Nope! At 1.30pm on the nose, a host of costumed cuties stormed the centre asking, with all the confidence of a future performer, when the drama games in the theatre would start! Then another child arrived with a face painting idea already in mind. In minutes a queue had formed and politely waited to be painted with flowers, butterflies, frogs and birds! The art table was swarmed by little shamans all making lucky pouches and the PowerPoint presentation at the table told us why they were thought lucky and who might have used them for sacred ceremonies. Needles pierced colourful cloth whilst grown-ups joined in too, their concentration-faces being snapped for posterity by BFS’s Photopoint.
The drama games were over too soon, but at least everyone now knew the Beltane classics and would likely bring them to the playground. Next was the drumming workshop run by previous Beastie Group Organiser Stewart Dinwoodie. He arrived with little energy to spare, having a busy schedule himself that day but the roof raising, drumtastic, dance crazy power fed everyone’s enthusiasm and the workshop over-ran by 15 happy minutes!
Quiet time required, storytelling was well attended and I loved having especially interested young folk at my feet on stage as I recounted to a full theatre a North American story about the Raven and a Shaman. Before long, it was time to go into the garden space for sensory play based on the elements. We made fairy soup and herbal playdough, giant dragon bubbles and an impressive mess!
As the afternoon came to a satisfying close, we held hands boldly and warmly with our friends, our parents, our brothers and sisters and people who were strangers until today. We circled and we sang, ‘This is family, this is unity, this is celebration, this is sacred’.
You can see more photos from Family Beltane 2016 in this album on Facebook.
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Photos, from top, by Bartlomiej Pyrz x2 and Mark Taylor x2.