Monthly Archives: May 2017

JUDAISM | Shavuot

30 May to 1 June

Shavuot takes place fifty days after Passover. The days between the two festivals have special significance for Jews, who verbally count the forty-nine days in a practice known as Sefirat HaOmer (Counting of the Omer). Commemorating the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, Shavuot is firstly a festival of the giving and the receiving of Torah. However, due to the association of Shavuot with the wheat harvest described in Deuteronomy 16, it is largely celebrated as the Jewish harvest festival. As such, Jews sometimes refer to Shavuot by a number of other names, including ‘The Feast of Weeks’ and ‘The Day of First Fruits’.

Jews observe Shavuot by abstaining from work and by attending special services at a synagogue to give thanks for the Torah and for the ‘first fruits’ of the wheat harvest. In respect of the revelation of the Torah, Jews customarily study Torah all through the night of Shavuot in a practice called Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

For more information about Shavuot please click here

JUDAISM | Shavuot 2017-09-12T10:37:19+00:00

ISLAM | Ramadan

27 May to 25 June

Beginning on a new moon day, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. As the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have received the first revelations of the Qur’an during Ramadan, it is a very sacred time for Muslims. During Ramadan, they show their devotion to Allah through a month-long period of fasting and prayer.

Muslims are required to fast every day from dawn to dusk. As sawm, the Arabic word for fasting, means ‘to refrain’, Muslims must fast not only from food and liquid but also from evil thoughts, words and actions such as smoking and engaging in sexual relations. This ritualistic fasting is of such great importance to Muslims that it is one of the five pillars, or duties, of Islam. Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to seek spiritual renewal through deep contemplation and prayer, and also by showing charitable generosity.

For more information about Ramadan please click here

ISLAM | Ramadan 2017-09-12T10:37:26+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Ascension Day

25 May

At Ascension, Christians commemorate the day when Christ’s apostles are said to have witnessed the bodily ascent of Jesus Christ into heaven. The Ascension of Christ is believed to have taken place 39 days after his crucifixion on Easter Day, thus Ascension Day marks the 40th day of the Easter Period.

Ascension Day is not a public holiday in the United Kingdom. However, it is given as a public holiday in many European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Ascension Day celebrations differ greatly between countries, but often include processions which symbolise the bodily ascension of Christ. Many Christians attend special church services on Ascension Day where they make prayers and sing hymns in commemoration. The Eucharist (Holy Communion) is also offered to the congregation in many Catholic services.

For more information about Ascension Day please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Ascension Day 2017-09-12T10:37:33+00:00

BAHÁ’Í | Declaration of The Báb

22 to 23 May

The Declaration of The Báb is a Bahá’í festival commemorating the day, in 1844, when a young merchant from the Iranian City of Shiraz prophesied the coming of a new messenger from God. Renaming himself for the Arabic for Gate, Báb, the Prophet soon gained thousands of followers and his calls for spiritual and moral reform laid the foundations of a new faith. Bahá’í was formerly founded as a religion six years later when Bahá’u’lláh was recognised as the Manifestation of God, fulfilling the Báb’s prophesy.

The Declaration of The Báb begins two hours and eleven minutes after sunset on 22 May in respect of the precise time The Báb is believed to have declared himself. All work is suspended the following day, when Bahá’í’s celebrate their Prophet with prayers, storytelling and reflection.

For more information about the Declaration of The Báb please click here

BAHÁ’Í | Declaration of The Báb 2017-09-12T10:37:39+00:00

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference: DAY THREE

Today, our gardening professionals from Morocco, Spain and England were back with us in Essaouira for the third day of the ‘Growing Gardeners’ Landscape Conference.

Conference participants work in groups to discuss the way forward

We worked in groups to discuss what we learnt during the conference and to consider the way forward.

 

REEP Director, Diana Lazenby McLaren presents certificates on the final evening

The conference closed with a certificate ceremony and a traditional Moroccan dinner generously provided by our Director, Diana, and her husband, Richard McLaren.

 

REEP Director, Diana Lazenby McLaren with her husband Richard McLaren, after they have been presented with thank you gifts by conference participants

On behalf of everyone who attended the conference I would like to say a huge thank you to Diana and Richard McLaren for their incredible generosity and hospitality during the ‘Growing Gardeners’ conference. The group presented the couple with flowers and a Moroccan candle as thank you gifts.

 

REEP would also like to thank everybody who supported the conference and who helped to make it the success that it was!

 

More About the Conference:

This year the ‘SHORE TO SHORE’ Festival initiated by REEP focuses on Gardens, recognising COP22 and the United Nations Year of Sustainable Development. By using existing work in Britain, Morocco and Spain, the Conference explores ways of encouraging young people to be more aware of their environment and to become educated in creating, maintaining and using gardens and public spaces. The conference takes place in Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco.

Presentations have a particular focus on educational and health settings, as well as the importance of education for sustainable development and tourism. The expected outcomes of the conference include the creation of a network of individuals and organisations in Morocco, Spain and Britain, interested in social, personal and educational development through gardening and landscape architecture.

 

Hommage:

The Conference is dedicated to two great Gardeners, one recently deceased, Mohammed El Faiz, and one, Gertrude Jekyll who has been dead for many years but who is seen as one of the most important historic figures in British gardening. She was dedicated to education and her family has been among those who have enabled this event to take place.

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference: DAY THREE 2017-11-10T18:31:18+00:00

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference: DAY TWO

Today, our gardening professionals from Morocco, Spain and England travelled east to Marrakech for the second day of the ‘Growing Gardeners’ Landscape Conference. Here are some of the highlights…

In the first session of the day we visited a number of sites to see projects in action, including:

Conference participants visit the garden of a psychiatric hospital in Marrakech

The garden of a Marrakech Psychiatric Hospital

 

Students perform an Eco-song for conference participants at the Eco School '11 Janvier', Marrakech

Eco-School ‘11th January’. Everyone was very inspired by the work the school is doing to encourage students to respect and care for the environment. They even performed a delightful Eco-song for us!

 

Lunch at the Amal Women's Project in Marrakech

We stopped for lunch at the Amal Women’s Training Centre and Moroccan Restaurant. We had a talk from the inspirational director, Nora Belahcen Fitzgerald.

 

Conference Participants are given a tour of the water cycle exhibit at Environmental Education Centre (CEE), Marrakech

After lunch, we visited the Environmental Education Centre Marrakech (CEE). Here, we received a tour of a Model exhibition of Marrakech’s water system by the CEE Director, Brahim Chitaoui.

 

Conference participants on the stage in the Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

Finally, we visited Cadi Ayyad University Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences to see the Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden which REEP helped to create in 2014.

 

The Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden at Cadi Ayyad University.

The Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden at Cadi Ayyad University. You may remember that we were restoring it a couple of weeks ago. Well, now it is looking lovely indeed!

 

Conference participants watch Sarah and Heather perform Shakespeare on the stage in the Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

Our Shore to Shore actors, Sarah and Heather, treated us to a Shakespearean performance on the stage within the garden, and the French department performed for us too.

 

 

We finished the day with discussions on the theme of ‘Gardens, Sustainability and Tourism’. We had presentations by…

Glyn Jones, Head of Gardens for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust presents at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

Glyn Jones, Head of Gardens, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

 

Ricardo Librero, Landscape Architect, Seville, presents at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

Ricardo Librero, Landscape Architect, Seville, presents at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

 

Then all too soon it was time to return to Essaouira…

Conference Participants visit an Organ Cooperative outside Essaouira

Conference Participants visited an argan cooperative outside Essaouira on the journey home from Marrakech

 

More About the Conference:

This year the ‘SHORE TO SHORE’ Festival initiated by REEP focuses on Gardens, recognising COP22 and the United Nations Year of Sustainable Development. By using existing work in Britain, Morocco and Spain, the Conference explores ways of encouraging young people to be more aware of their environment and to become educated in creating, maintaining and using gardens and public spaces. The conference takes place in Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco.

Presentations have a particular focus on educational and health settings, as well as the importance of education for sustainable development and tourism. The expected outcomes of the conference include the creation of a network of individuals and organisations in Morocco, Spain and Britain, interested in social, personal and educational development through gardening and landscape architecture.

 

Hommage:

The Conference is dedicated to two great Gardeners, one recently deceased, Mohammed El Faiz, and one, Gertrude Jekyll who has been dead for many years but who is seen as one of the most important historic figures in British gardening. She was dedicated to education and her family has been among those who have enabled this event to take place.

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference: DAY TWO 2017-11-10T18:23:28+00:00

ISLAM | Lailat ul Bara’h

11 May 2017

Lailat ul Bara’h takes place on the fifteenth night of the Islamic month Shabaan, exactly two weeks before the beginning of the Ramadan period. The festival is often referred to as the ‘Night of Forgiveness’, as it is the literal translation of the Arabic layltun (night) and baraat (forgiveness). On Lailat ul Bara’h, Muslims make special night time prayers to God to ask His forgiveness for their sins. These prayers are very important because, according to Islamic tradition, it is on the night of Lailat ul Bara’h that one’s destiny is fixed for the year ahead. In addition to prayers, it is traditional for Muslims to visit their relatives’ graves and to make charitable donations to the poor and needy. For more information about Lailat ul Bara’h please click here.

ISLAM | Lailat ul Bara’h 2017-09-12T10:37:47+00:00

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference: DAY ONE

Gardening professionals from Morocco, Spain and England have joined us at Dar Souiri Museum in Essaouira for the ‘Growing Gardeners’ Landscape Conference. Here are today’s highlights…

The Opening Address at Dar Souiri, Essaouira

REEP Director, Diana Lazenby McLaren gave an opening address, explaining the context and aims of the encounter

 

Session One’s theme was ‘Gardens and Education’. We had presentations from…

M’barek L’Harcha, Provincial Director of Education, Essaouira, presents at Dar Sour in Essaouira

M’barek L’Harcha Provincial Director of Education, Essaouira

 

Neil Miller, Head of Gardens, Hever Castle, presents at Dar Souiri, Essaouira

Neil Miller Head of Gardens, Hever Castle

 

Souad Layadi Regional Co-ordinator of Sustainable Development, Académie de la Région de Marrakech-Safi, and Rebecca Ashbey Cressing Temple Garden, Essex.

 

The Theme of Session Two was ‘Gardens and Health’. There were presentations by…

Hassane Hargoune, CHAMS Association for Mental Health, Marrakech, presents at Dar Souri Museum in Essaouira

Hassan Hargoune, Chams Association for Mental Health, Marrakech

 

Sam Crosfield, Royal College of Physicians’ Garden, London, presents at Dar Souri in Essaouira

Sam Crosfield, Royal College of Physicians’ Garden, London

 

In the third session of the day we visited Collége El Jadida to see a project in action. REEP helped to create a school garden here as part of Shore to Shore 2014, and the college have been inspired to continue developing gardens and encouraging students to garden ever since.

A new garden area at El Jadida College in Essaouira

Look this new garden area that the school has created – what a clever use of coloured stones and geometric patterns!

 

El Jadida College students perform Gnaoua for conference participants

Students from El Jadida College performed a traditional Moroccan dance called Gnaoua for the conference participants

 

More About the Conference:

This year the ‘SHORE TO SHORE’ Festival initiated by REEP focuses on Gardens, recognising COP22 and the United Nations Year of Sustainable Development. By using existing work in Britain, Morocco and Spain, the Conference explores ways of encouraging young people to be more aware of their environment and to become educated in creating, maintaining and using gardens and public spaces. The conference takes place in Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco.

Presentations have a particular focus on educational and health settings, as well as the importance of education for sustainable development and tourism. The expected outcomes of the conference include the creation of a network of individuals and organisations in Morocco, Spain and Britain, interested in social, personal and educational development through gardening and landscape architecture.

 

Hommage:

The Conference is dedicated to two great Gardeners, one recently deceased, Mohammed El Faiz, and one, Gertrude Jekyll who has been dead for many years but who is seen as one of the most important historic figures in British gardening. She was dedicated to education and her family has been among those who have enabled this event to take place.

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference: DAY ONE 2017-11-10T18:02:22+00:00

BUDDHISM [Theravada] | Vesak

10 May 2017

Vesak, Visakah Puja or ‘Buddha Day’ is the most important festival of the year for Buddhists in Theravadin countries. Falling on the first full moon day of the Indian lunar month of Vesakha (May/early June), the festival commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and ‘passing’ into Nirvana, no more to be reborn. According to Buddhist scriptures, these three events all took place on a full moon day during Vesakha. Many Buddhists pay tribute to the Buddha at their local temple during Vesak, with some choosing to stay for the entire day and night of the full moon. Celebrations are centred on the practices of giving (usually offerings of food and symbolic offerings for the temple), virtue (reaffirming one’s commitment to Buddhist morals), cultivation (chanting, meditation and attending sermons), and carrying out good and meritorious deeds. For more information about Vesak please click here

BUDDHISM [Theravada] | Vesak 2017-09-12T10:37:55+00:00

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference Begins

Gardening professionals from Morocco, Spain and England have joined together in Essaouira for the International Landscape Conference initiated by REEP. Today conference attendees had time get to know one another in preparation for the first day of the conference tomorrow.

 

REEP Exhibition at Dar Souiri Museum in Essaouira

 

Our Director’s husband, Richard McLaren, generously treated the conference participants to canapés and drinks at the Heure Bleu hotel, where we all enjoyed seeing the beautiful roof terrace and the tropical planting in the courtyard.

Conference Participants in the courtyard of the Heure Bleu Palais in Essaouira

 

More About the Conference:

This year the ‘SHORE TO SHORE’ Festival initiated by REEP focuses on Gardens, recognising COP22 and the United Nations Year of Sustainable Development. By using existing work in Britain, Morocco and Spain, the Conference explores ways of encouraging young people to be more aware of their environment and to become educated in creating, maintaining and using gardens and public spaces. The conference takes place in Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco.

Presentations have a particular focus on educational and health settings, as well as the importance of education for sustainable development and tourism. The expected outcomes of the conference include the creation of a network of individuals and organisations in Morocco, Spain and Britain, interested in social, personal and educational development through gardening and landscape architecture.

 

Conference Presenters:

Rebecca Ashbey, Cressing Temple Garden, Essex

Sam Crosfield, Royal College of Physicians’ Garden, London

M’barek L’Harcha, Provincial Director of Education, Essaouira

Hassan Hargoune, CHAMS Association for Mental Health, Marrakech

Glyn Jones Head of Gardens, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Souad Layadi, Regional Co-ordinator of Sustainable Development, Académie de la Région de Marrakech-Safi

Ricardo Librero Landscape Architect, Seville

Neil Miller, Head of Gardens, Hever Castle

Ouidad Tebbaa, Professor, Cadi Ayyad University

 

Projects in Action:

Amal Women’s Project, Marrakech

The ‘Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden’ at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

Collège El Jadida, Essaouira

Eco-School ‘11th January’, Marrakech

Environmental Education Centre (CEE), Marrakech

Saada Psychiatric Hospital, Marrakech

 

Hommage:

The Conference is dedicated to two great Gardeners, one recently deceased, Mohammed El Faiz, and one, Gertrude Jekyll who has been dead for many years but who is seen as one of the most important historic figures in British gardening. She was dedicated to education and her family has been among those who have enabled this event to take place.

‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference Begins 2017-11-10T17:50:42+00:00

SHINTOISM | Kodomo No Hi

05 May

Alternatively known as Shobu No Sekku, this festival has its origins in the distribution of the medicinal shobu (iris) to protect to protect communities from illness. Today, Kodomo No Hi has evolved into a day for families to pray for the health and prosperity of the sons in their family. Japanese legend tells the story of a carp that swims upstream to become a dragon. The strength and determination of the carp to overcome all obstacles and the energy and power it found to swim against the strong current are held up to Japanese boys as qualities they should strive towards. In respect of this, families raise up koinobori (carp streamers) on Kodomo No Hi – one for each of their sons. It is also customary to display a special doll called a kintaro, which represents the legendary Samurai warrior, Minamoto no Yorimitsu.

For more information about Kokomo No Hi please click here

SHINTOISM | Kodomo No Hi 2017-09-12T10:38:05+00:00