Children are naturally curious about the world, so it is a terrific time to introduce them to the festivals of their ancestors and contemporaries. If we can practice living seasonally at home, it can be a fantastic way to connect children to their place in the world. Seasonal living also creates the opportunity to connect to something much larger than ourselves, be it our community, our land or indeed the cosmos.
Wilded Family Perpetual Calendar, a map for families living seasonally.
When we consider seasonality as we live, we become closer to nature. First, we begin to pay attention to the days, weeks, months, and seasonal changes. We no longer shun certain times of the year, weather patterns, or hours on the clock. We also teach children to connect with their environments and learn to coexist with the greater world.
What is living seasonally?
In addition to communing more fully with nature, you also have the opportunity to teach your children about the cultural and spiritual connection to seasons. Many holidays and festivals take place based upon nature, the calendar, or the lunar changes. We can feel our own human experience weaving into the patterns of the plants and animals.
Of course in the modern world it’s all too easy to forget all this, it’s easy to have something else to do. We have to go to parties, to school, work or the gym – simply put we have stuff to do that’s not dependent on the time of year. It is so easy to overlook the delicate transformation which is taking place in the world around us.
Can we though, through the way we live, create an awareness of what’s developing in the natural world? Certainly seasonal living with little ones is attending festivals as the year passes, but it can also mean different things to different people.
In our family seasonal living means supplementing what we grow with a weekly organic veggie box, so our food is local and seasonal (and yummy). Our weekends are filled with walks in the woods and fields. We decorate the house and our dining table for each season. We have made space for a nature table and get the kids to turn the perpetual calendar. Lastly we have family traditions that we weave into our lives each year. For example we pick and process the apples from our trees over one weekend: the other side of that is that we wassail the trees earlier in the year (Wassailing is an old English tradition) the important bit for us is that we don’t just see the apple tree when its Harvest time, we visit when the tree is dormant too, seeing a full cycle in nature.
December: winter we make time for reflection, reading and cosy fires.
Why are Festivals, Traditions and Holidays so Important?
Festivals are often bursting with cultural and ancestral connections. Most festivals are not new celebrations, and depending on your area, they may have been happening for centuries. From a strictly social perspective, these festivals are essential to maintain regional and family traditions, even if the family has separate traditions than the rest of the region.
Why is Understanding Nature So Important?
Teaching your child about the importance of cycles can help them learn about seasonal foods, animal and plant behavior changes, and weather patterns. Children can learn how each of these things interacts to provide food, shelter, and water crucial to the survival of the people, plants, and animals in their part of the world. They can also learn how these things are different in other parts of the world.
When we experience nature inwardly as a human being we are part of something much greater than ourselves. I love this quote:
“I know about what I am as a human only when I don’t live alongside nature passively, but when I allow myself to be lifted up to the heavens in summer and when I let myself sink down in winter into the Earth in winter.”
May traditions, from the Wilded Family Wheel of the Year
(for us the dancing round the Maypole, a celebration of colour and movement.)
There are lots of ways you can help you teach your child to be aware of their environment, culture, and festivals. You can help them learn how their cultures and holidays differ from others and learn the long-standing traditions in their families and society. You can develop your own traditions.
The modern world wants us in a tumble-dyer, endlessly spinning faster and faster: but if we can unplug and connect to the cycles and rhythms of the natural world I think we can find a connection to a center and calm that benefits everyone.