Thanks to everyone who attended International Mud Day! The weather was hot, the water was cold, and the mud was MUDDY! Happy faces and squeels of joy were in abundance. This year marked the highest attendance to date - 309 adults and 356 kids connecting with nature through mud play. WOW!!
A big shout out to Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone Lead Play Worker and Mud Day organizer Alex Cote who was asked to contribute to an article about mud play in the Santa Fe New Mexican! Great work Alex!
International Mud Day Cultural Connections
What is International Mud Day all about?
International Mud Day is a celebration started in 2008 in Nepal and Australia, designed to connect people with nature. Several other countries now take part in the event including the United States through the celebration in Ithaca! In 2012, the first International Mud Day Celebration in the Northeast USA took place at the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone in Ithaca Children's Garden!
Each Mud Day is specific to the community in which it occurs. In Nepal, traditional music and dances happen in the mud, and the local wildlife gets in on the action.
In Australia, a preschool class heard that some children in Nepal, specifically those in orphanages, couldn't participate in Mud Day because they only had one pair of clothes. The class raised money to provide extra clothes for the kids in Nepal and celebrated simultaneously in their schoolyard, instigating the event's spread around the globe. Ithaca Children's Garden helps provide contact with nature to all members of the Ithaca community for free year round so that no one is financially barred from connecting with nature.
In Nepal, Mud Day marks the beginning of the rice-growing season. It is a celebration of the nature that provides the ideal place to plant rice, the commodity that will later sustain the community. Apart from sustaining the garden's children all year in the Hands-On-Nature Anarchy Zone, Ithaca Children's Garden's mud becomes a home for frogs, a bath for the birds, and the nutrients and support for lots of different plants in an ecological community. Last year, rice was planted at Ithaca Children's Garden as a gesture of unity with Nepal – a grain that used to grow wild along the banks of the Great Lakes where it was gathered by the ancestors of the members of the Seneca Nation.