FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Festival and celebrations are a central part of Waldorf education. Participating in festivals nurtures the child’s inner experience of the rhythms of the year and a sense of community is cultivated. We encourage all of the children and their families to participate in these wonderful community events. When planning festival celebrations, the faculty carefully considers the qualities of the season to be celebrated. Michaelmas and Lantern Walk take place in the fall when days begin to grow short and darkness increases. These fall festivals remind us to strengthen our inner forces against darkness through courage, strength, perseverance, and compassion. Wintergarden is a festival of light that takes place in December, the darkest month. Each child walks through an evergreen spiral decorated with representatives of the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. When spring returns, we celebrate nature’s rebirth with colored eggs, flowers
“Celebrating festivals can bring us consciously to what we all experience instinctively in our daily lives, the changing cycles of the seasons and of life itself. Through various festivals and rituals, we acknowledge and celebrate our connection to and our responsibility towards each other and the world.” -excerpted from Festivals, by Marilyn Pelrme
The seasonal festival of Michaelmas is uniquely celebrated in Waldorf schools around the world. While we are sharing our gratitude for the gifts of summer which will carry us into and through the coming winter, we are also celebrating the gathering of a community in consciousness. Rudolf Steiner wrote and spoke about how we are living in a time where we all (by necessity he said) are becoming more and more individualized in our consciousness. Once upon a time, people were born into communities with which they remained all their lives. Now, even more than in Steiner’s time, we move away from families, we shift communities throughout our lives. Steiner wanted to see a celebration of the individual consciously connecting with the community. This is worked through in different Waldorf schools in a great variety of ways. Certain elements have become a tradition in our own school.
The Michaelmas Pageant
For many years now, our second-grade students have presented a short play about St. Michael to illustrate a story of courage. As tradition holds, we will have singing before and during the play.
Our students will share a potluck of simple fare featuring “Dragon Bread.”
We encourage students to wear red as a color of will. We incorporate some aspect of working together and annually plant bulbs to bloom in the spring. The dragon represents fears and doubts that all of us feel at times and the children in the play with their swords represent our courage to face our fears. Handmade “meteors” bring cosmic forces to our earth at the end of every summer, helping us to see the beauty and wonder of nature.
The Lantern Walk Festival brings alive the image of the inner light, carried inside each of us throughout the winter months, warming and strengthening us. On the appointed evening in November, the children and their families gather together at dusk on the school grounds with their homemade lanterns. They walk in quiet song and reverence through the village singing seasonal songs of light, generosity
Holiday Faire is held the first Saturday of every December. The entire community comes together to celebrate the winter season. Typical Holiday Faire offerings include incredible food, candle making, soap felting, face painting, metal work, shopping in the Angel Room, and of course a visit to the Treasure Gnome! We host several local artisans at our Vendor Village who bring delightfully unique items.
Parent volunteers organize and run this festival, and all proceeds go to the Parent Association which helps to fund CWS faculty and community grants.
Our May Faire is celebrated on the first Saturday in May. This festival focuses on springtime and enjoying the sunshine together. Grilled food, family games, crafts, cake walk, dancing around the May Pole, and dunking beloved faculty members in the dunk tank are hallmarks of our spring celebration. The festival culminates in a family contra dance that is fun for all ages!
Parent volunteers organize and run the festival, and all proceeds go to the Parent Association which helps to fund CWS faculty and community grants.