Festivals give us a chance to celebrate together, to share beauty and creativity, joy and spirit to share food and drink and to dress up, to sing and dance.
They enable us to experience a sense of belonging, of connectedness: connecting us with the beliefs and deeds of the past as a way of honouring our ancestors; connecting us to the earth and the seasons as a way of honouring nature; connecting us with the divine as a way of honouring a greater part of ourselves.
The Philpots Festival Clock shows some of the festivals that light up our year. Most, like Christmas and Easter have recognisable symbols and can be readily guessed. Others are connected to Philpots' customs, like Open Day, drawn in the Festival Clock as a ladybird because it is the last day of term and on that day we 'open our wings and fly away'.
Our Ascension Day festival has become synonymous with kite flying. Happening early in the summer term, we often use it as an opportunity to make kites, take them up onto Ashdown Forest, and fly them!
Our Whitsun Festival has become a chance to celebrate the many languages spoken by the staff at Philpots. Whitsun, or Pentecost, is associated with the 'gift of tongues' in the Bible. and we have used it as a reason to hear, speak and appreciate our wonderfully diverse community.
Our May Day Festival has a particular connection to the history of Philpots. May 1st 1959 was the day Philpots began, and it is the birthday of our founder, Bob Ogilvie. It is also the day the famous Ashdown Forest Morrismen come to entertain us at lunchtime.
Our St. John's Fire is traditionally and ceremoniously lit by those students, the 'leavers', who are coming to the end of their time here at Philpots.