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 and love.
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.
The Winter Garden is a festival celebrated in Waldorf Schools around the world. It is a meaningful event rich in beauty and symbolism. At a time of year when the reflective qualities of the holidays can easily be lost, this quiet festival brings a moment of peace into our lives. Each child will take a turn walking through the evergreen spiral to receive the gift of light from an angel who is waiting at the center. This spiral of evergreens takes on the symbolic form of the everlasting Universe and all it contains. Each student walks the spiral path of fresh evergreen boughs, which is decorated with moss, greenery, rocks and other natural items. Gradually the spiral is illuminated as each child adds a lighted candle. Together the candles bring a glorious light to this darkest season.
On Grandfriend Day we welcome family and friends for a special day to celebrate those who are special in the lives of our CWS students. The students come together in an assembly where each class shares a song or poem. Grandfriends are then invited to our classrooms to meet the teachers and view the main lesson books and other projects the students have been working on. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a sneak peek into the daily activities of our CWS students and see the Waldorf curriculum in action!
May Day has long been celebrated to mark the renewal of life that makes itself known in early spring. Parents and grandparents are invited to watch and enjoy as each class contributes a special song, dance and decoration to the Maypole gathering. The Early Childhood classes dance around a smaller Maypole at a separate event.
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.