Saturday, August 17, 2013

Celebrtating the Assumption with Small Children

     I have been looking for ways to create Catholic identity in Amani.  It's tough since we don't really attend Mass that often- (see my earlier post about Mass)- so I have been looking for ways to incorporate little Catholic celebrations in our life.  My mom brought me this book recently, Follow the Year and it has some nice stories and ideas for celebrating feast days and major Christian holidays.  I especially like "John The Baptist Day" or "Midsummer's Feast", mostly because I always wondered what the people were celebrating in Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night's Dream, and also, I like the idea of leaving food out for fairies.

     One of my favorite Catholic holidays is the Feast of the Assumption.  Now that I am a mother I really dig Mary, and appreciate reflecting on and honoring the feminine side of God.  I mean- Catholics don't actually recognize Mary as a God, but she without sin, and didn't die so she is pretty much Catholic Church's way of honoring the feminine God-like elements of creation.  I like the idea of finding power and grace in feminine elements.  Too often in our culture they are thought of as weakness.
     Anyway, Follow the Year didn't actually have any suggestions for celebrating The Assumption, but I found a few sites that really helped me come up with something simple and fun to remind the family that we were honoring Mary.  Since The Feast of the Assumption began as the Roman harvest festival of "First Fruits", the Catholics traditionally bless fruits and herbs on this day.  One site suggested making blueberry cobbler since blue is the color associated with Mary in the Church.  This is perfect.  We actually have a blueberry bush in our yard, and they are well ripened by this time of year
It looked better in the photo on the site, but it tasted good!
     For our celebration this year however, I made a brown-butter nectarine cake.  Amani had already eaten a TON of blueberries, and Erik is not a really a baked-fruit kinda guy, so this was a happy compromise.  We also bought a big bouquet of blue irises, and I wore a blue dress with flowers on it.  I told Amani we were celebrating Mary, and showed her a picture.  I mean- she's not even two- the central focus for her was the cake, right?  I didn't think she was going to be able to take in much more that that.  Surprisingly though, as we were nomming down our cake, I asked her who we were celebrating and she shouted, "Celebration for Mary!" as she shoved another piece of cake in her mouth.  That's my girl!