Magical Event: StarSoup!
Just about every culture has some kind of mid-winter celebration to illuminate the darkness. Whether it’s celebrating the Solstice and a transition back into longer days or taking part in holidays rooted in religion or culture, it’s a time of beautiful diversity. From Hannukah to Christmas or Diwali to Kwanza, we all find ways to infuse a little brightness into our gatherings. This is also a time of year when many feel particularly connected to their heritage, as family traditions are often reinforced the most in conjunction with holidays.
I wanted to create an event to celebrate that beautiful diversity. I also wanted it to be an opportunity for creative expression. I sent out a call for Cultural Ambassadors to apply to attend, then allowed each of them to invite a few guests of their choosing. What resulted was a communal feast of diverse characters, with one important thing in common: a sense of adventure. Each guest brought their own picnic supplies, including a holiday centerpiece, a thermos of some kind of soup, and a handmade card that detailed the specific ways they celebrate in the winter time.
As we gathered together in a beautifully-illuminated public park in downtown Caldwell, ID, each guest was greeted with a hot cocoa station (complete with mini marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles of course!) and a cozy party bus. Inside the bus, James of The Glitter Projects had set up a sparkle-bar where anyone who wanted to could get a little extra bling for the party ahead.
Once all of the guests had arrived, we carried our tables out onto a bridge overlooking the twinkling landscape of Indian Creek Plaza. We formed one long banquet table, festooned with our holiday centerpieces and plenty of candles and lights. We began our feast with a cheers to the holiday season, then served and ate the delicious soups we had brought. (Why soup? Because just like mid-winter celebrations, pretty much every culture also has a long heritage of soup.) After eating dinner, we exchanged handmade cards so everyone got something special to take home with them. Dessert was a time to mingle, and I encouraged people to wander up and down the table, stopping to chat or admire each other’s displays. Finally, one last cheers ended our evening and we packed up and disappeared just as suddenly as we’d arrived.
This event was inspired by a racial incident in the nearby town of Middleton that made national news back in October. There was some debate about whether or not it was an act of aggression or simply of ignorance, but either way it was upsetting to many, particularly the people of color that live in the area and were directly impacted. I was inspired to find a way to both highlight and celebrate diversity since so much kindness and understanding can be born simply from sharing an experience with people who are a little bit different from you.
One of my favorite parts of this evening was interacting with the curious onlookers that wandered past our long table. We were able to tell many people what we were doing there and why, to general nods of approval and happy smiles. (Some bread and cookies may or may not have been exchanged as well.) We encouraged them to look at all of the different displays and ask questions, and they did. It was wonderful to see so much curiosity and generosity existing in one setting.
As nights grow longer and headlines are filled with the harshness of the world we live in, I believe that community is more important than ever. There is a reason so many cultures have mid-winter celebrations; they are a chance to gather in a place of light and togetherness, to stave off the darkness and isolation that can come so naturally this time of year. So as you head into your own mid-winter darkness, remember: it’s not always so dark as it seems. And to anyone who is able: make the light. Share the light. Be the light.
Huge thanks to my team of trusty Magic-Makers for helping me bring this event to life: Lucy Chronic, Craig Crist, Chris Hinze, and Chelsea Santiago. Also thanks to The Glitter Projects for so kindly donating her time and resources to getting everyone in the sparkly spirit! Also, so much gratitude for my patrons for making it possible for me to share magical events like this one in addition to all of my blog posts and other writings! To learn more about this program, just click the orange button below.
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