The ideas below can be used for any national celebration in any country. We used the Fourth of July in America as our example.
In today’s world of amusement parks, sugar-filled treats, electric grills and commercialism where does one go for a, earthy, non-electric, Waldorf 4th of July or any Independence Day celebration for that matter? A family picnic and/or day at the park/lake is always a good option…but beyond that what does one do until the fireworks start after dark?
We decided to travel back in time this year and were lucky enough to have someone else do the planning for us! But the events, activities and fun we had would be perfect for a Waldorf co-op party as well and CAN be done at home.
I will share some of what we did below. But along the way I will also share some of my ideas for doing this yourself. We are very fortunate to have a Living History Farm nearby but not everyone has that.
National Day Celebration Ideas
1. Did you know that each state (of the 13 at the time) decided to participate in the war for Independence for different reasons??? We all know about the Boston Tea Party and other major events…but what about the region you live in? What did Independence mean to them back in 1776? What about the country you are living in? There is always some general universal Independence celebration, but can you research and find out a little bit more about your specific region? What did people in YOUR area do to celebrate? Did Independence mean something different for women than for men? Was it good for everyone?
In the event we participated in there was a traditional old-time parade and some women were marching and chanting about the right to vote. Iowan women did not have that right back then.
2. What traditional games did people used to play? In many of the places I have been around the globe Independence days bring more and more amusement rights and electronic entertainment (movies, TV, etc…). What were some traditional non-electric ways of celebrating?
At the Living History Farms we were able to FEEL we were back in time by the traditional houses, farms and people. But we were also allowed to experience the simple joys of “sack racing”, “three legged races”, “corn cob races”, “stilt walking”, “watermelon seed spitting” and a good ole-fashioned pie eating contest (I won 3rd prize for eating my little piece of pie very quickly LOL. We also really enjoyed being spectators at an old-fashioned BASEBALL GAME with “gentleman’s rules”. Gentleman’s rules means that pitches are all underhand (no fast balls) and there is no yelling at the umpire and no professional players are allowed among other things. All the men were dressed in lovely formal baseball wear! Croquet is another timeless tradition, that we did not play at the LHF, but would be ideal for the home party environment.
3. What music did people enjoy? What music can you create? We listen to choral singing and a small band. Live music is something that is always fun to create or listen to at a party. If you don’t have musician friends you can just pass around simple instruments like drums or harps and have people sing and/or dance.
4. Have a non-electric parade! At the Living History Farms they treated us to a small ten-minute parade with traditional garb and even the town mayor! It was really fun! But anyone can do a parade at home too. My kids used to do them all the time when they were 4 and 5. You only need two people for a parade and everyone likes parades! It also gives the kids something that they can plan themselves and a show they can “put on” for the adults!
5. Travel back in time. We are lucky enough to have an entire community called The Living History Farms which is very friendly and never touristy (even with 500 visitors one day it seemed we were “alone”) that gives the kids opportunities to sweep at the broom shop, help deliver mail at the Drug Store, Print their own fliers at the old-fashioned print shop and even forge metal (Sunii’s favorite!). But every town has a museum or historical landmark of some kind. Independence days are all about looking back in history. Celebrate with a museum trip.
6. Serve a traditional picnic without all the sugary treats and chemical filled hot dogs. We enjoyed some herbal Sarsaparilla and hand-churned ice-cream! Yummmy! Ok, and we did have a hot-dog…but…uh…it was organic?
And most of all – enjoy, laugh a lot and be merry 🙂 What did you all do for the 4th of July or National Day this year?