We have a simple tradition on weekday winter mornings. Each morning, we sit down to eat breakfast, as a family, and light a candle. The sun is not up, so the glow of the flame just helps to start our day. In the last few weeks, the sun has risen by the time we have finished breakfast. There are windows facing the east, so we inevitably discuss the colour of the sky as the sun prepares to peep over the top of the hill.
The sun turned the snow a beautiful pinky-purple one morning. This morning, BL pointed out the yellow glow. When you watch the sun rise every day, it’s not hard to notice the lengthening day. The children can see the shift.
If it sounds idyllic….to be honest, it is. (Life isn’t always, so I’m going to embrace the moments that are!) The children are considerably calmer and mindful at the table. They are aware of the candle and have no desire to accidently knock it over. They eat their porridge all up, because that’s the way they earn the right to blow out the candle at the end of breakfast. (I re-light it so that they all can have a go.) Their awareness of the seasons changing, is an unintended, added bonus.
This weekend, we started doing some seasonal crafting. Something that I want to do more of this year. Candlemas/Imbolc/Festival of lights is one of those celebrations that we usually just nod our heads to. This year it struck me that celebrating the day halfway between the shortest day and the the spring equinox, fitted perfectly with our morning candle.
As I read around the subject, I was very taken by the idea that this was the time traditionally, that the lighting of the candle would be suspended for the season.* Enough sun to light our breakfast table and warm the earth outside ready for regrowth. Something worth celebrating. In our family, that most definitely involves craft activities.
I’ve created a list of activities and books to help us celebrate. To start with, we made origami lanterns, using flame resistant paper (origami lantern paper white sourced here). I sat down with each of the children in turn to fold the lanterns. The two girls needed minimal help, while TF, at 5, was happy to watch me make his lantern and help with the creases. Next they all used watercolour paints on the paper. Finally adding glitter.
This is the first of our Candlemas crafting activities. Rather than do it all on Saturday, we have opted to spread it out over the week leading up. Expect a few more posts in the slowly lengthening days.
* We live in a cottage that is over 26o years old. Many families have lived here before us. I can’t help thinking about all the people that have risen on dark winter mornings and lit a candle in the same room as we now light ours.
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