Harvest festivals are one of my favorite kinds of celebratory events. People share their bounty, but at the same time are reminded of the hard work that goes into the production. Furthermore, just about every culture has some sort of harvest festival. In the US, we have Thanksgiving. At my field site in Mozambique, people celebrate the First Fruits by thanking their ancestors for helping to bring the rains that water the crops, grow the gra**** that fatten the cattle and edible wildlife, and help the people prosper. I think that a Watery Thanksgiving festival for World Water Day would be a great way to celebrate.
I think that there are three themes that should be developed in my Water Thanksgiving event:
Water supports and connects all life forms. Humans are not the only species requiring clean water.
Water is a limited resource. The water on planet Earth is all we have. Readily available freshwater supplies are a fraction of this resource.
Both water quality and quantity are important. Freshwater may be available, but if it is polluted or contains pathogens it remains non-potable.
Although actual details for the Watery Thanksgiving might vary from place to place, on 24 March 2010 people would congregate at a waterbody early in the morning. For some locations, this might be a local sacred spring or well, river, lake or pond. In other places, the community would need to designate a special place. Maybe a boreh*** or irrigation ditch might be important in some places. Throughout the morning, folks would restore their connections to the water - remove trash, repair water pumps (hey, this could be a well or bore h*** too) or other equipment, test the water for pathogens and pollution, and develop a plan to restore ecological community balance if need be. The plans could involve fishing restrictions, planting of trees and other vegetation to prevent erosion and runoff into the water, digging latrines far from the water source, removing old damworks, etc.
Late in the day, this work would end and the party begin. Foods like shellfish, fish, or seaweeds might feature on the menu in coastal regions. Some folks might even partake of uisge beatha or aqua vitae - the water of life. :) During dinner, children (grouped by age) would perform skits to explain the water cycle, demonstrate how other living beings use water, follow a drop of water through time over the Earth's existence, and show simple ways to prevent water pollution from ag. runoff, sewage, trash, etc.
At the end of dinner, every person present would be given a glass of water. A child, a youth, a parent, a single person, an elder, and a person chosen by chance would be asked to give one reason why water is important to everyone in 6 consecutive homages. When the last person has had their say, half the glass will be drunk. Then there will be a minute of silence when people can meditate on why water is important to them personally. Following the mediation, they will give their glass to another person who will drink the remaining water.
After this ceremony, the party will continue with music and dancing far into the night.
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The exchange works directly for state and public workers and servants. It gives them credit in exchange for the amount of public work they contribute to the community. The more constructive they are based off a base rate the more credit they recieve.