May is here and it’s a wonderful month for celebrating many different occasions. It’s the month of Mary Our Lady, the month of the Bealtine Festival and it’s also Local and Community History month.
The Bealtine Festival celebrates arts and creativity as we age. And Local Community and History month encourages communities to explore their history, while promoting historical awareness of your local area.
In the spirit of Local and Community History month, ask yourself: how well do you know your hometown? You may think you know the place you grew up in pretty well but every place is rich in history. So, for this month, make it your mission to get to know the history of your local community.
If you have moved from another town or country, you may be spoilt for choice over which home area to explore. But you can learn a bit about both to widen your horizons.
As it’s also the month of the Bealtine Festival, you can celebrate both, by asking your grandparents and other elderly relatives to share their stories with you.
Pick something creative to do together to explore and discover the stories in your local area.
This can be anything from painting and other crafts, to making a journal. Learn how to do a craft or skill your grandparent learned when they were your age.
For the journal, document your historical journey with your grandparents with a home-made scrapbook.
Choose an area you will both explore together – such as a local building, a local sports team, a local business, or a cherished landmark – and document your findings in the book.
Your grandparents will have written differently to the way that you write now. Learn the style of writing they learned when they were at the same level in school, and use that style to write in the journal. Take photos of your findings too and disperse them throughout the journal.
While you’re on your adventures, pack a picnic of your grandparents’ favourite food and sweets from their own childhood.
When you go exploring with your grandparents this month, you might run out of days in the month to document everything. But don’t just save your project for the month of May. Continue to keep it going as it’s something you will really cherish in years to come.