Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The Origins of Feast of the Hare

By Dame TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview

The Skraeling Althing Chronicle, Fall Edition Page 5 Nov 2010 A.S. XLV 

Back in the mists of time when rocks were still cooling (1977), an intrepid group traveled from Toronto for a long weekend in Ottawa to introduce the city to the SCA. 

Included were the newly crowned Prince Finnvarr, Lady Bolverk, Mistress Gillian d’Uriel (then Olafsdottir), and myself. 

Less than three months later, off I moved to start the Canton of Skraeling Althing. The first “come meet the SCA” meeting at my apartment in Sandy Hill welcomed nearly 50 people. 

As (then) Prince Finnvarr rightly pointed out, a group isn’t a group until it puts on its first event. 

Approximately a year after Skraels started to meet and hold fi ght practice, a full-day event and feast was set up for a local community centre in town. 

One of the biggest tasks was finding a name for the event, and a play on words title was chosen. 

At the time, there was a group in Toronto (where Skeldergate currently sits), called “Noerlanda”. This group sponsored a yearly event called the “Feast of the Bear” (this name will be familiar to many, as the event name was revived many years later by Eoforwic). 

Given that this was Skraeling Althing, featuring the infamous “Bunny Fru-Fru” hare on its arms (from a children’s punny story), we decided to name this first event the “Feast of the HARE” as a nod to the Noerlanda event. 

The first Feast of the Hare was small: approximately 25 sat feast including some visitors from both the Toronto and Hamilton areas. It was a learning experience for all in the fledgling Canton (for instance: cooking the feast for an event in a bachelor apartment which is not near the site is a dad idea!), but a good time was had by all. 

The Feast of the Hare has gone through many permutations and changes over time: it has focused on fighting, the gentle arts, or on fencing; it has featured classes, or arts and sciences displays; it has had first-rate bardic performances, firejugglers, and near eastern dancers, and it has always hosted the court of the Baron and Baroness of the Barony of Skraeling Althing for their annual taxes. 

And so the Feast of the Hare continues as one of the Kingdom of Ealdormere’s longest continually running events, with this November being Feast of the Hare XXXI.

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