The Apples have enjoyed researching and sharing about the festivals of Lughnasa and Samhain (SOW-in) that have Celtic origins. In our study of Celtic history, we have learned that much is a mystery due to variations among Celtic tribes, scattered archeological finds and little written history before Patrick came to Ireland. What the Romans and Greeks wrote of the Gauls and Keltoi was somewhat biased as they sought to conquer the invaders from the North.
We began some map-making of the various Celtic territories in Europe ending up with the Celtic fringe of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The oral folktales and deities were varied, yet we learned of the Coming of Lugh and the Second Battle of Moytura that tells of the sun God, Lugh, and victory of the mythological people called the Tuatha De Danaan. Other stories presented were the Sons of Tureen and the Children of Lir. While listening to the latter story, all students created a beeswax swan.
Apples honored the Celts connection to nature with sharing of favorite places outdoors and brought in a branch, leaf, stone, or even an apple from these special locations. Some students researched the importance of herbs and oak groves to the ancient Druids. Students also brought in verses about nature or Celtic poems to bless our snack.
What a pleasure in October to have Peter Watson, the NY bagpiper, join our class to teach about the bagpipes, Scottish garb and piping competitions! He played the kitchen and large bagpipes for us. We are grateful for his generosity in returning on Dec 17th with fellow piper, Mary Taylor to shepherd the grade students to our winter festivities. What fun to dance to the jig the pipers played! Several students and I attended the Irish Cultural Day at Nazareth College (sponsored by Irish Rochester). We heard a variety of traditional Irish music and instruments including a jam session where the Giraldo girls spontaneously shared some Irish dance! At the end of October, we took a field trip to Grandview Farm for apple picking; we had a bonfire for Samhain and carved Celtic designs into pumpkins (the tradition is to carve turnips). We also painted lovely Celtic knots this season.
In November, we participated in movement activities and games (led by Sue M.) and continued singing some Irish songs (Three leaf shamrock, I’ll tell me Ma); we worked on our 3 part harmony and rounds. Our handwork consisted of Celtic 4 strand braids with assistance from Barb M. (Corey’s mom) and Molly C. Previously we had drawn Celtic twists and knots.
Birthday affirmation flurries abound with additional qualities shared by parents. Students have also shared their own clever written summaries of the Coming of Lugh. Our elder students have volunteered to write a script for our play from the story of the Quest of the Sons of Tureen. We remain a dramatic, energetic and talkative bunch! Much creativity and connection continues to flow and we shall see what we can weave into Imbolc and Beltane.
With Celtic spirit,