INTERNATIONAL FAIRY DAY
Fantasy, imagination and a little bit of pixie dust come together on June 24th in honor of International Fairy Day. These tiny supernatural creatures have captivated myth and legend for generations. Today the wee folk’s stories are perpetuated throughout animated stories, miniature garden displays, and children’s books.
In nearly every culture there is some reference to a spirit or spritely creature who performs good or evil deeds depending on its nature. Often, there are several manifestations of these beings, but never so many have been so intricately woven into the culture as those of the Celts.
There are the brownies and hobgoblins that barely resembled the delightful looking fairies described in film and art today. They were, however, helpful little creatures, doing household chores and the tedious jobs that leave us mere humans weary at the end of the day.
The more ominous of the fairy family are the banshees. They are the foretellers of ill fortune. According to Irish legend, this keening Bean Sidhe predicted death. There are several versions of her story across Ireland and Scotland. Her appearance was often eerie and gruesome, a ghost story for soldiers and childbearing women.
Many of the wee folk are associated with nature. Dryads are tree spirits, while gnomes live among the roots. The variety of water fairies in the folklore of the world is as broad as the oceans of the earth. From merpeople to water nymphs and pixies, these water spirits take as many forms as the fishes of the seas.
As tiny as they are, fairies can be trouble makers. Leprechauns today are known as the mischevious devils who are not to be trusted, though they were once considered water spirits and humble.
In Welsh legend, Tylwyth Teg is a fairy family known for kidnapping. Also known as Bendith y Mamau or “the mothers blessing,’ they would leave a changeling in the child’s place. While these horrible fairies are at it, they will take horses for wild rides leaving them exhausted.
Many more gnomes, sprites and magical winged creatures fill the tales of Celtic lore, and this is only one small corner of the globe. Under the canopy of the Amazon forest and deep within the Taroko Gorge many more myths abound.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Read up on the many different kinds of fairies. Get your fairy fix by reading classics like Peter Pan or Pinocchio. Attend a summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Create a fairy garden and watch for signs of fairy life. Attend an International Fairy Day event. Use #InternationalFairyDay to share on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to identify the founder of International Fairy Day.