Of Holidays Past: Disting

Posted Feb. 10, 2021, 6:36 p.m. by Civilian Runa Siff Edman (Education Specialist) (Jennifer Ward)

It was cold outside, but the sun was coming out more and more each day. Revna and Runa only noticed the difference because they were able to toddle around outside more and more. But inside it was still dark and unless Mommy or Da turned on the lights. Today was different though, when Móðir and Da came to wake them, they pulled the curtains open and picked them up to look out the window at the bright light. It made them blink and grasp at the streams of light coming through the window. Móðir sang all day as they cleaned. Spring cleaning is what she called it. Da worked outside, Revna toddling after him as he cleaned the area for the bonfire and the porch, and cleaned the outside of the windows. He laughed, a deep rumbling sound that made the small toddler look up with a half toothy grin, at her antics. She made more of a mess than she actually helped. He set down a broom that he’d been using to sweep cobb webs away to talk to his brother as he passed by. Revna, not to be stopped, picked up the far too giant broom, and tried to turn it, but only managed to lift the bristles to about knee hight as she tried, unsuccessfully, to swat away the dust herself. By the time she managed to lift the broom above her head, she toddled backwards and fell, right onto her bottom, earning her the uproarious laughter of her Da and Uncle.

Inside Runa toddled happily after their mother, dragging a toy sized broom around. When her mother began dusting Runa found one of her Da’s t-shirts and was dragging it across every surface she could reach, causing half streaks of clean until the shirt got dirty and only left streaks of dirt behind it. Her móðir, resigned to having to clean twice followed behind Runa, cleaning up the streaks and knocked over odds and ends. At the end of it, Runa had more dirt and dust on her than the cleaning supplies did

Today was also the day to make candles. Revna and Runa were far too small to help melt and pour the wax. But their Da had it all taken care of. Beeswax sheets that he helped them roll with their little hands. Most of them ended up big gobs of wax balls that he then had to try and un smoosh to dig the wick out of, but the two copper haired toddlers giggled and squealed as they smooshed, rolled, and mashed the beeswax into incoherent shapes.

This year, because they could walk, they would get to carry their ‘bride’s bed’ around the village. They sat outside dried rushes and corn husks and bits of colored ribbon and twine. The afternoon was filled with giggles as the rushes and husks turned into two dolls and two beds that were actually baskets. Then the cries of exhaustion, as the two very fussy and tired toddlers were forced to take a nap.

But upon waking, they had new surprises. Shauwn and his parents had arrived. Revna toddled off after him, where he sat on the porch, Runa not far behind. Paper crowns, in the shape of paper candles. The older girls would wear crowns with real candles and they would be lit before the festival that night as they paraded around the village. But Shauwn knew they were too little and had made them paper crowns to wear. 5 years old now, Shauwn had also made candles, the more traditional way, with melted wax and molds. When Móðir came outside, he had a bundle of new candles tied up for her.

New baskets and dolls in hand, paper candle crowns placed on their heads by Shauwn, Revna holding Runa’s hand wandered from house to house. The older children and adults had small gifts and trinkets for their dolls. They would play with these for hours over the coming months. That evening around the bonfire the girls would sit listening to songs and mesmerized by the fire. They would toddle around following the older girls, imitating their dance, falling down and laughing, eventually falling asleep in their parents lap. The next day they would take a long walk looking for the first early signs of plants growing and the animals beginning to stir in preparation for Spring’s arrival.
Runa and Revna Edman

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