- Your Town
Peace and Harmony
The Rainbow Family Gathering continued their tradition of praying for world peace on the Fourth of July, a ceremony followed by the eruption of a gigantic celebration at Saginaw Creek, 10 miles south and west of Jackson.
The national Rainbow Family Gathering returned to the site of the 2000 event, with members starting to arrive in Beaverhead County on June 16. The population at this year’s gathering peaked on July 4 at 9,700 according to the Forest Service, well below the high of 23,000 reached on July 2 of 2000.
The July 4 ritual includes silent contemplation from the time members awake in the morning through the noon ceremony. While a majority of the family followed the script, many members stayed at their camps all together and never ventured to the large meadow split by Saginaw Creek.
Large numbers of the gathering began arriving in the meadow at 11 a.m., with a small contingent in the center. Family members held hands in a large circle around the meadow as the noon hour approached and began chanting, “aohmmm.” The circle continually expanded until it was an impressive size around the entire meadow stretching up onto the hillsides.
A second contingent entered the Peace Circle carrying the Peace Pole. After a brief ceremony in which the Peace Pole was planted, the entire family raised their hands and erupted into a load cheer before the circle collapsed into the meadow and a giant fiesta erupted with music, laughter, dancing and even a wedding filling the air with joyous noise.