Gardening with Children

School Zone

Seasonal Celebrations

Date Posted: 05 January 2009

At a time when we are perhaps less in touch with the natural world, these occasions are a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the seasons and the cyclic nature of things.  There are some wonderful celebration days and festivals throughout the year and it's lovely to share these with children.

We will be looking at festivals and special days from all over the world in the months to come.

Candlemas - 02 February

Snowdrops are sometimes called Candlemas Bells and on 02 February it is Candlemas, one of the first festivals of the year.

There are many customs associated with Candlemas. The Romans traditionally lit candles to scare away evil spirits during the winter months. There was also an interesting custom in Scotland. On Candlemas Day children brought candles into school so that the classroom could have light during the dull winter days.

People also believed that Candlemas predicted the weather for the rest of the year. 

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain
Winter won’t come again.

It might be a nice little classroom project to record the weather where you are on 02 February, and then see if its predictions come true over the weeks to follow.

Shrove Tuesday - 24 February

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day is on 24 February and marks the day before Lent begins. Traditionally eggs and fat were not eaten during Lent and so this was an opportunity to feast and celebrate before the fasting began.

Mix a pancake
Stir a pancake
Pop it in a pan
Fry a pancake
Toss a pancake
Catch it if you can!

Make your own Pancakes!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 oz flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ pint milk
  • A little butter
  • Oil or lard
  • Hand mixer or whisk
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Spatula or fish slice
  • Pancake toppings (some suggestions below)

To make your pancakes:

  1. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well (hole) in the middle.
  2. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl or jug.
  3. Slowly whisk the milk and eggs into the flour.
  4. When all the flour is mixed in you can add the butter.
  5. Put the frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil to the pan.
  6. When the oil is beginning to smoke a little, pour in enough of the batter mix onto the oil to thinly cover the base of the pan. Note that the first pancake always takes the longest to cook and doesn't usually turn out as good as the rest!
  7. When little holes or bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake it should be ready to turn or toss.  Gently shake the back back and forth to make sure the pancake isn't stuck before you attempt this!
  8. Cook the other side until golden brown (about 30 seconds).
  9. Repeat until you've used all of the batter.

When the pancakes are ready serve with your favourite accompaniment. Try lemon and sugar, chocolate sauce, mapel syrup or ice cream!

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