The passing of time and the changing seasons are richly celebrated at Hohepa. The graces pay thanks to the food that is received, the daily morning and evening song, the weekly services, and the celebrations of the seasons through time honoured festivals give rhythm to the days the months and the years.
Through plays, festive meals, dancing, artistic activities, musical presentations and ceremonies these celebrations are focal points of cultural life and community spirit.
The changing seasons which are important in farming are marked with a gathering of the whole community.
Summer, the festival of the warmest time of year, is celebrated in the Valley Field at Poraiti. There are games and a shared meal, with music and dancing. A great evening bonfire brings occasion to a close.
Shortly after the midsummer festival both communities combine to present the Christmas Plays which are a loved and simple version of the Christmas Stories. The themes of the warm hearts of shepherds and the wise heads of kings as the basis for good deeds are remembered each year. The good humour and the simple beauty of these plays are a gift to the whole community.
Autumn, the season of harvest and shortening of days is celebrated with a St. George Play and another great harvest meal. Folk dancing and farm activities such as gathering in the corn, the pumpkins and apples remind us of the activities of gathering riches from life. This festival is held on the Clive Farm. The autumn festival has the theme of over-coming fear and finding courage to face the coming ‘winter of the soul’.
Midwinter brings a series of beautiful festivals held in the rich darkness of the winter nights and marked with candles, story and song. The stories of courage and blessing celebrate the return of the light as we pass the longest night. The School and the Adult Community hold their own festivities with the ‘Blazing Star’ as the finale.
Spring is the festival of rebirth and once again the whole community gathers at Poraiti to sow the garden seeds and to dance the Maypole dances. Flowers in the hair and bright music mark the Spring Festival. Bright blue skies and blossoms on our trees are the usual background to our shared picnic.
By marking these changes and celebrating the festivals in the course of the year we help give the children and residents a rhythmical structure and meaningful sense of time. This is very helpful for the children, many of whom experience inner chaos and have difficulty relating to concepts of time and change.
Families are always welcome to join us at these festivals.