If you grew up in the sixties and seventies, then you probably remember the “hippie” era. Flower children with long hair wore patched bell bottoms; they wore bead necklaces; ran barefoot and put flowers in their hair. They lived together in communes as one loving family all sharing together and caring for one another. Hippies emerged under the idealistic movement seeking that peaceful utopia of the promised land in Zion. Many cultures, religions, tribes and peoples called for an end to war and they put on the flower power sharing peace and love, in hopes the rest of the world would catch on. Were you part of this peace and love evolution?
Photo Credit: Ren Faire Reese
You may not be familiar with the peace and love hippie movement of the seventies. You may not have any idea what a rainbow gathering is all about. I am going to share a little of my experience with you to help you catch a glimpse.
I call it the great waking up of a society gone mad with war and industrialism and commercialism. That was before all the responsible marketing and ethical environmental consciousness made it into many of our production industries during recent years. It all began in my early high school years and I so wanted to run away to Woodstock for the greatest concert ever. My time didn’t come then.
Well, I have news for you that may or may not be a surprise. Those days have never ended, my friends. I’ve gone to rainbow gatherings with many people who are now elders and grandparents.
Younger generations have taken up the “torch”, if you will, or flower power spirit, in hopes of creating a better world for their children and grandchildren. These rainbow gatherings happen all over the world now and are stronger than ever. What would you wear to a gathering of this kind, you ask? That’s easy. Wear whatever clothes make you feel comfortable.
If you want to reminisce though, I suggest wearing the traditional early 70’s clothing like this man and woman. You’ll still fit in. Actually, most people will think you’re cool. No matter what you wear, you’ll receive a big welcome home and lots of hugs and love from people who will call you brother or sister. It’s the same concept as way back then. Rainbow gatherings reconnect people together as one.
The costumes and clothing worn by the diverse people who attend these sacred prayer assemblies crosses many cultures and time periods. You will not be out of place, regardless of your choice but I’ll give you some ideas about common ways people dress.
During the 70’s, bell bottom jeans and patched jeans or other patchwork clothing was very fashionable. People also came to rainbow gatherings in blue jeans, or cut off jeans, barefooted and without shirts. Hair was often long and men sported nice beards, the longer the better.
In the past thirteen years, I have attended rainbow gatherings and I’ve seen the old style clothing from many American and European people. I’ve seen rappers; Native Americans dressed in their unique tribal style clothing; I’ve seen people dressed like Native Americans or primitive pioneers completely decked out in buckskins and moccasins.
Since so many cultures make up the rainbow, which is actually a gathering of the tribes of the rainbow family of living light, the clothing is as diverse as the people. Hindus come in their traditional garments while the Buddhist monks wear orange colored wraps and put up large circus style yurts. Africans come dressed in their tribal clothing and they bring their tribal drums.
There is music as unique and diverse as the clothing so it is a great cultural crossroads. The Grateful Dead movement brought a lot of Rastafarians from all countries. The Essenes come to pray and they wear their pure clothing of white robes and eat raw foods. Cowboys come decked in boots and cowboy hats, rawhide coats carrying guitars. Some bring their horses. Hillbillies come in their bib coveralls and straw hats and treat the camps to some down home country music or blue grass. I’ve seen Hawaiians in island dress and people from Israel wearing their religious clothing and hairstyles.
The styles are endless and unique like the people, but one thing is obviously held in common. I have seen all these people come from around the world to gather on American soil to pay honor and tribute to our freedom to worship, assemble and pray together on our public lands. It is the most fascinating assembly of people who come by the thousands in all their colors and styles to pray in harmony for peace on earth.
Whatever you wear, it is an experience you will never forget. I couldn’t begin to share even a fraction of the magic that you would see at these gatherings in one small story. You just have to see it to understand this event is miraculous.
Won’t you join me at the next rainbow gathering near you?