Monday’s Meander: Willamette Heritage Center and Samhain

This is the second year we have attended the annual Celtic Festival for Samhain (which occurs 10/31-11/1) at the Willamette Heritage Center, held in Salem, OR. What an interesting, enjoyable afternoon we had once again. We also like to wander about the five acre grounds. It is a National Parks- designated American treasure.

Per Wikipedia: “Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November, as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. This is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.”

It’s a pagan celebration and though I am not pagan, I’m greatly Irish (my mother’s maiden name was Kelly) and also of a more inclusive spiritual attitude, perhaps reflective of that heritage. I am at home with Irish music and dance and the storytelling culture (to which my mother belonged, always entertaining or instructing with her expressive tales)…and I am still longing to visit Ireland and other Celtic nations. We did participate in one ceili dance–I so enjoy that and managed one rigorous dance before requiring a bit of a rest due to my ole ticker. All acoustic musicians were top notch, as before, and the bagpipe player was excellent, as well.

One can always sing along even when ignorant of the tune and lyrics. And though I learned a little “fiddling” (as opposed to my usual classical string musicianship) in my thirties, I would more like to play the Celtic harp and bohdran. Let that be prominent on my bucket list–and then get to it.

This year I offer mostly photos of the graceful grounds. (Last year I wrote of a more inclusive experience: https://talesforlife.blog/2018/10/31/wednesdays-words-nonfiction-samhain-a-celtic-festival-and-local-heritage/. ) There are fourteen historic structures to take at study and include the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill (1889, a water powered mill), a Methodist Parsonage (1841) and Pleasant Grove Church (1858), as well as two other houses from the 1840s–there are 14 buildings on the site. I love the lean lines and pure colors of white and red, the indicators of past industriousness and hints of lives once lived. Some places, one can sense and feel the essence of the past, the people who thrived and struggled.

T

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