When we lived in simpler times, we observed the turning of the seasons – the great wheel of the year. Until quite recently in human history our survival depended on being prepared for Spring’s new growth, Summer’s sun, Autumn’s harvest and Winter’s cold and dark. In many places these seasonal celebrations have been forgotten.
Even now, insulated – by central heating, cars and supermarkets, our bodies and minds still respond to abundance, or lack, of light and warmth, curling or unfurling according to the season. However, the wheels of commerce dictate we observe their gods now, computers have no need for sleep or rest.
Winter nights are not lit by flickering candlelight, instead we live in the perpetual glow of screens. Street lights make moonlight redundant and starlight is a long-forgotten thing. The trees still drop their leaves but plastic flowers adorn our tables in all seasons. We now mark the turning of the year with ‘shopping opportunities’ and headlines exhorting us to ready our ‘bikini bodies’, we no longer look to the stars or the skies but to the supermarket shelves to remind us what comes next. We think we’re too grown up for all this stuff – telling each other that Christmas, Easter and Halloween are ‘just for the kids’.
Feasting is perpetual, only the colour of the wrappers change – chick yellow and sky blue for Easter, orange and green for Halloween, red and white and green for Christmas. No matter, they all turn out brown in the landfill.
Our ancestors celebrated – the returning sun, new growth, fertility of beasts and crops and man, harvest and feasting times. Other times were for turning inward, remembering those who had gone before, sleeping and dreaming. This cycle reminded us, like the poet said, that ‘this, too, shall pass’ – like long Summer days or Winter’s chill, neither joy nor grief will last forever.
Here in Glastonbury we seek to re-member the year, groups form in front rooms and draughty halls to plan gatherings and parades and parties, that will happen in another season. No matter how many times we have seen the wheel turn, it is hard on a freezing February day to imagine that time when we will have cast aside our winter coats and be dancing around the Maypole. Still, it’s an excuse to leave the house and there is company, tea and bickering.
We are so lucky to have so many events throughout the year in Glastonbury, even when we aren’t processing through the town there are gatherings marking the Celtic wheel of the year at Chalice Well and the Assembly Rooms. Community gatherings, whether they have a spiritual focus or are just for fun, bring us closer together.
I hope you find the following list useful, you can download a printable version here if you wish. I’ve linked to the event pages where I could find them, just click on the bold purple type to go through to those. I’ve also linked to my Normal For Glastonbury posts. Sorry if I’ve left an event off this list, if there’s one you think I should have included please get in touch on here, by email or the Facebook page and I’ll do my best to let people know about it.
Wassail Events – Celebrating our apple trees – Various Venues
Majma Dance(not on in 2019)
Glastonbury Medieval FayreIn Glastonbury Abbey
Beltane Celebrations – Read all about it on Normal For Glastonbury
Megalithomania Conference –What were the ancients up to?
Glastonbury Fringe –Various musical events around Glastonbury Town
Glastonbury Pilgrimages (Catholic & Anglican)
Glastonbury Symposium –Investigating Crop Circles and Signs of our Times.
The Glastonbury Goddess Conference –Week long celebration of the Goddess.
Glastonbury Extravaganza –Music in the Abbey
Tor Fair –Traditional Fairground Rides
Glastonbury Zombie Walk
Samhain Wild Hunt – Read all about it on Normal For Glastonbury
Frost Fayre – Read all about it on Normal For Glastonbury
Starling Murmurations – Millions of starlings flocking on the reed beds of the Avalon Marshes (until February). Read all about it on Normal For Glastonbury
Enjoy this post? Buy the eBook ‘Normal For Glastonbury: Life in England’s Most Magical Town’
Join the We Are Normal For Glastonbury membership site, for exclusive content, a comprehensive guide to making the most of your visit to the town, a personalized membership certificate, discounts from Glastonbury businesses, a members’ forum and blog page where you can post your own writing and photos. You’ll also be supporting me to carry on writing about and photographing Glastonbury Town and its wonderful creative community. Membership is only £20 a year. Click here to find out more: We Are Normal For Glastonbury.
You can also subscribe to Normal For Glastonbury by email, ‘like’ the Normal for Glastonbury