At all the major festivals and turning points of the year, it’s a natural impulse to find commonalities within the celebration with the larger human community, past and present, and gain a sense of connection.
In this winter season, one especially delightful and moving experience of shared celebration is found in the music, dance, and storytelling of the Washington Revels, which each year changes its theme (always carefully researched and skillfully interpreted) but whose underlying message acknowledges and salutes the struggle to find beauty, joy, humor, peace, and love amid the darkness, uncertainty, and losses of our life journeys.
This year’s theme is Andalusian Treasures, and I quote:
Our 29th annual celebration of the winter solstice harkens back over 1,000 years to the confluence of Moorish, Sephardic and Iberian cultures in medieval Andalusia. Led by the antics of two fools, and joined by guest musicians, Trio Sefardi and Layali El Andalus (“Andalusian Nights” in Arabic), we celebrate the legacy of the extraordinary flowering of arts and culture that began there and extended to much of the world for centuries thereafter. Presenting the three cultures together on stage, we honor the symbol that Andalusia has become (however imperfect the reality) of the ideal of greater tolerance and acceptance among different cultures and religions.
Shows run December 3-4 & 9-11, matinees and evenings, at GW Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC, and there are still tickets available through the Revels website. Believe me, once you have sung and danced for the solstice with a thousand gladsome companions, you will want to make it a family tradition.
The sketches above are from a 2007 Renaissance Revels. For more Revels sketches, and a mini-history, please see Revelry.