Throughout history, in all civilizations, there have been celebrations reflecting nature’s rhythms, important transitions, and significant moments in our cultures. We celebrate to sustain and renew ourselves. For the children, the elements of festival – light, food, song and story – permeate the weekly school rhythm; but the cadence of the year receives its form through festivals. Teachers, parents and children work together to express the unique character and variety of our festivals for each age of our students.
In the autumn, at harvest season, we celebrate Michaelmas (pronounced Mick’-ul-mas). As the seasons transition from the outer warmth of summer to the coolness of fall. This is a festival of courage to strengthen our community connections. We celebrate gratitude with an array of harvest fruits and dragon bread, and a school play.
Martinmas- Lantern Walk
The story of St. Martin often inspires a lantern walk and the sharing of lantern songs, snacks, and warmth with friends. The younger children may make lanterns in their classrooms and join their families in an evening lantern walk where they sing with lanterns held high. For the children, the lanterns are symbols of their own individual light, and the walk into the cold, dark evening gives the children an experience of sharing “their own light” as the darkness of winter approaches.
The festival that our students and families share at the beginning of the winter season is one of the most beautiful and memorable of the year. In a dark room lit by candles, smelling of evergreens, each child walks, one at a time, through the spiral of evergreens to the center. Each child lights their candle and then places it somewhere on the pathway to light the way for the next child. It is a reminder of the journey inward each of us must make during the dark days ahead.
The annual Holiday Faire, in early December, is bursting with magic for everyone. The combined artistic efforts of children, parents, and faculty make this festival a huge success for our own families as well as the community at large. The array of music, crafts, and magical scenes make this an extraordinary event.
May Faire welcomes spring. The tree of life was part of this ritual and is now represented by the Maypole. Our school’s May Faire is an annual event where we raise a sixteen foot pole, bedecked with fresh flowers and ribbons. The children wear floral crowns and celebrate the arrival of spring with dancing and singing. A family picnic adds to the gaiety of the day.