One of the most enriching aspects of being a part of a community is creating, evolving, and participating in festivals and traditions year after year. At their root, our festivals are most often born from holidays and events that are culturally and personally significant to members of our community and contain elements that feel familiar and meaningful. As we at Beaver Farm come from a variety of different cultures, our festivals are informed by our individual experiences and no two celebrations ever look exactly the same.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 was the day we celebrated the festival Beaver Farm usually refers to as Fasching. Many may know the day better by the names Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), Carnevale (Remove Meat), Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, etc. The day is celebrated around the world to mark the last day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, a time when people traditionally look inward and often times choose something to abstain from for 40 days. Fasching though, is a party where we eat all of the treats we’ll attempt to resist for the several weeks while we dance, sing, and indulge the day away.
This year, we held a talent show and delicious community lunch to celebrate the occasion and it was one we won’t soon forget! Our Drama Club organized and emceed the event, which started off with a hilarious opening skit and throughout the day Drama Club members had the opportunity to make us laugh in their own way. They primed the audience and judges for a great show that was filled with acting, dancing, singing, and more. Two plays based on fairy tales were featured: a reinterpretation of Rumplestitskin by the Day Student Unit and an adapted version of The Princess Who Never Smiled by Stone House. Multiple musical acts got us out of our chairs and dancing. Lucas House sang an ode to never eating quinoa again, members of Farm House sang a call and response song by the band The Violent Femmes called “It’s Gonna Rain”, and JP and his friends from the drama club did a rousing rendition of “Call Me Maybe”. We heard the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley commandingly told by members of Farm House and Colin gave us his own dramatic reading of “Green Eggs and Ham”. Thrilling acts of physical ability were also highlighted by Nina with her Hula Hoop, Joey’s one of a kind balancing act, and KK as the strongest man in the world who tore a stack of 56 pages of paper and did 10 pushups! The final act was by Asa who brought us our very first drag performance at Beaver Farm; we were left in awe of the elaborate choreography and passion behind their debut with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper.
After several rounds of thunderous applause, we settled into lunch which was a performance of its own. Farm fresh ribs were accompanied by homemade buns, black bean soup, vegetarian spring rolls, broccoli, and fried rice. For those of us who still had room for dessert, there was an array of fresh baked cakes, muffins, and cookies to fill that space.
The festivities ended at 1:30, just in time for a long rest hour where we returned to houses, settling back into our minds and bodies. Afternoon crew came and we traded our fancy dress attire for overalls and aprons as we went from singers, strongmen, and dancers to gardeners, farmers, chefs, and students. The soundtrack of our regular afternoon routine resumed with wheelbarrows rolling and sprouts being snipped, but if you listened hard enough you could hear the faintest sound of happy humming and toe tapping as each of us still carried the joy of our community Fasching celebration in our hearts.