Sunday, 21 October 2012

Samhain Festivities at Celtic Harmony - Hertford

Outside the Chieftens Roundhouse
Since having the children one family event that we have really enjoyed and looked forward to every year is the Samhain festivities at Celtic Harmony. Celtic Harmony is a reconstructed iron age Celtic camp based just outside Hertford which aims to promote a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world through the ancient Celtic culture.

The Celtic people celebrated Samhain as a celebration of the end of the harvest and the beginning of Winter - it is often know as the Celtic "New Year". This festival was seen as a time when the boundaries between this world and the next were blurred and many of these ancient traditions have been carried on into the Halloween we know today!

As you walk up the winding path that leads to the camp you really do feel as though you are taking a journey back in time. I love the winter festival as it is so evocative - there's the scent of bonfires in the air and the steady beat of the drums in the background. You can ring the bell at the gate where you are met by a real Celt, and my daughter loves getting a pouch of golden Celtic coins to spend.

A proud Celtic archer

 The camp is based on a real Celtic village with a chieftains roundhouse where you can bake fairy bread, listen to mysterious storytellers and get your face painted with Celtic symbols. There is also a small farm area with goats and geese and a Celtic herb garden which shows you the many uses - both culinary and medicinal - that ancient people found from the herbs that we take for granted nowadays. If you are feeling brave there is a  "haunted" forest for you to explore with spooky surprises in store such as broomstick making and wand making.

It's a really fantastic experience for children and I think that it brings a fascinating era of history to life. It's also nice to spend the day enjoying the fresh air and it does help the kids to understand how other cultures managed to work in harmony with their natural surroundings - a valuable lesson.

The winter festivities are on this half term from Sat 27th - Tues30th October with the Samhain festival on Wednesday 31st October.

You can find out more on their website


  1. Oooh, jealous. That sounds so atmospheric, love the idea of beating drums, bonfires, storytellers. Have you ever tried wassailing - brilliant, waking up the apple trees at the end of winter, banging of drums, shouting, drinking from a communal wassail cup - all very pagan and fun!

  2. That looks excellent. Not sure about the spooky forest though. :/

  3. What a perfect way for children to gain an insight into history! Fun to attend and enjoy and great learning through play. Love this, thank you for linking to Country Kids and adding the dates in too. If we lived anywhere close I would love to go with my children.

  4. This sounds like a great way to learn through living history. It makes it 'real' for visitors, I think. I always think it is lovely to be able to revisit the same event year after year and see how your children change in their response to it.

  5. Aha, we have a medieval village near us which is a treasure trove for discovering about the past, and my Country Kids is about St. Fagan's Natural History (Outdoor) museum. It's such a fantastic way to learn.

    Popping over from Country Kids