DO Ring Out The Bells
We’ve seen bluebells popping up in woods, parks and gardens. Expect a full carpeting soon. They’re beautiful flowers to spot, and you won’t have to travel far – even pocket parks will have a few blooms. However, if you’d like to make a day of it and find somewhere new to wander and enjoy, the Wildlife Trusts have some great ideas as do the National Trust. Find more about the indigo-hued plants here – did you know that bees steal the flowers’ nectar by biting a hole in the bottom of the bell, or that Bronze Age people used bluebell glue to attach feathers to their arrows?
RECIPE, DO, LEARN Witches Night
Walpurgis Night is celebrated across northern Europe on the night of April 30 (Tuesday) and the day of May 1. In Germanic folklore, this was Hexennacht (Witches’ Night), the time when the magical women gathered on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz mountains. Consequently, fires are lit to ward off evil spirits. Traditions vary across Europe; in Bavaria, teenagers play pranks, in Thueringen, girls dress up as witches, while in parts of Finland, people run screaming through the streets drinking and wearing masks. They also eat Walpurgis Doughnut Holes – recipe here. Many places make straw scarecrows to toss on the bonfires, thought to be soaked in the bad luck and grumpiness from the year gone. Find out more about the festival here. Why not hold your own celebration with bonfires, a straw figure and witchiness – the decision to gather in your own coven or to attempt to ward off the broomstick bashers is entirely yours!
EVENT Party on the Square
Immerse yourselves in colourful Sikh and Punjabi tradition, heritage and culture at Trafalgar Square’s Vaisakhi festival this Saturday. 2019 marks the birth of the Khalsa (the inner core of the Sikh faith) 300 years ago, so expect an extra-special party. Chow down on traditional food including vegan snacks and fresh coconut milk, learn the ancient martial art of Gatka, join in the mini olympics, practice your turban-tying skills, listen to live music and listen to gripping stories. Free.
EVENT North East Enders
Dive deep into the traditional culture of the north east of England at The Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering, a three-day festival of street entertainment, clogging, crafts, dialect, singarounds, orienteering, bellringing and storytelling that has evolved from a festival started to celebrate the area’s folk dance and song. It’s a progressive, inclusive affair, aiming to show that north eastern traditions are not stuck in aspic but alive and developing with each new generation. Rather beautifully, they describe the central battle re-enactment as “celebrating neither victory nor defeat, but rather the spirit of Borderers caught up in the web of everlasting conflict at a frontier”. Don’t miss Saturday’s main parade that will feature a huge flotilla of dragon puppets. Some events ticketed, many free. Facebook page here
EVENT Write On
What can someone’s handwriting tell you about their personality, history or hopes? The British Library in London’s new exhibition, Making Your Mark, explores humankind’s greatest achievement – recording thoughts. See ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Burmese tattooing instruments, Mozart’s handwritten music or Alexander Fleming’s notebook. The exhibition is ticketed, but this weekend enjoy a free family create-a-map workshop