Sunday, 11 December 2016

Tree Dressing 2016 - preparing our event

What is Tree Dressing about? Why hold it in Mayow Park?

We all know that trees are important and that we should not take them for granted. Customs around the world include tying ribbons, writing messages on fabric, hanging objects and more. The celebration brings the community together to appreciate the trees around us. Mayow Park has some ancient trees but also a young orchard. Lots to celebrate.
Some people who heard about our idea wondered why we would be doing  Christmas decorating as that was what tree dressing meant to them. They were surprised that our celebration was not intended to be a Christmas event as it cuts across many customs and cultures. It pre-dates Christianity  as trees have been valuable to people for all time.Tree Dressing is celebrated all over the world  among many cultures at different times of year. A charity called Common Ground pulled customs together and revived Tree Dressing into an English cultural event. They started this  in 1990 for the first weekend in December.
But people are very busy at weekends at this time of year so how could we attract them to our event? We came up with more ideas: a story teller? singing round a tree? Try to ensure the date does not clash with other local events in Sydenham and Forest Hill. So the date chosen was Sunday 4th December 2016 from 10 am to 12.30 pm. The site we selected was the orchard. One volunteer brought lots of coloured fabric strips and helped to set up. Another brought string for tying objects to the trees and tree guards. A musician with young children brought his guitar to enhance our sing-along.  The Orchard Project through Helping Britain Blossom arranged additional publicity and a photographer.
common beech leaves
beech leaves

So our ideas grew and preparations were made, permission sought and forms filled. (To be continued . . . )

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