Donovan Community Welcomes Spring with Traditional Feast
With a new season beginning, we must welcome it with open arms. Wednesday evening, March 21st, 2012, a traditional feast was in order for the Sudbury community to celebrate the beginning of spring. Performing the ceremony, was traditional elder Vince Pawis. Taking place in the gym of St. David Catholic Elementary School, several community members, families, students and staff were on hand to take part in this event. Cheryl Partridge, local aboriginal singer, opened the celebration with the welcoming song Biidagenh which means welcome, come in, in the local Ojibway language. The translation of the lyrics are “Welcome every nation, come in and sit down. Join us” – a fitting song to begin the evening’s event.
Pawis began with a prayer and smudge to spiritually cleanse all participants. He then explained the significance of the four directions in aboriginal culture, focusing on the Easter doorway as it signifies spring. “I am sitting in the Eastern doorway because the season that sits in the East is spring,” Pawis explained. “New life, newborns, marriages usually happen around this time.”
The gym was decorated with the colours of each direction, and after the explanation by Pawis, the group sat down for the “main event”. Traditional foods were served to the guests including fish, wildrice and strawberries. During the meal, Pawis also spoke to the group about the significance of each of the foods and their importance to Aboriginal culture. St. Charles College student Chayenne Oechsler was on hand for the Feast and felt it was successful event for the attending community. “I really enjoyed this evening with Vince,” stated Oechsler. “It was a really welcoming atmosphere, and it was great welcome spring together as well as learn more about Aboriginal culture.”
Submitted by St. Charles College co-op student, Cheyenne Oechsler.