Kedry Spring Celebration 2018

Article and Photos by Melissa McCarthy

There are certain plants, some unique to Sonoma County and some found throughout the world, that will tell you when spring has arrived. The willow trees that grow with such vigor near our waterways grow buds that swell and burst with bright yellow fuzzy catkins to mark the first day of spring.

Last Saturday Fort Ross welcomed the return of the season with our Kedry volunteers for their annual Spring Celebration. Kedry families came from around the Bay Area to re-create the festive “Verbnoye Voskresenie” (Pussy Willow, not Palm, Sunday) where holding hands and branches of willow catkins they walked from corner to corner of the compound touching every wall, tree, and person in their path with the fuzzy flowers as a symbolic way of reconnecting to spring, nature, and the traditions held by their ancestors long ago.

The walk was accompanied by traditional Russian/Slavic songs which filled the compound and took you back in time. Games and dances followed with more songs and traditional activities and crafts. The pechka, a brick oven located in the officers barracks, was lit and filled with delicious breads hand rolled by Kedry families. The ladies finished the afternoon with songs and textile crafts that included knitting and weaving demonstrations. It was a beautiful day to honor the connection between culture and nature and all that spring provides!