Festivals are integral to the rhythm of life in a Waldorf school. In fact, this rhythm is precisely why these festivals are such a prominent part of Waldorf life. The goal is to develop in the child a sense of the rhythm of the seasons and the passage of time, and a sense that there is something bigger than himself.
“The original idea of any sacred festival is to make the human being look upward from his dependence on earthly things to those things that transcend the Earth.” – Rudolf Steiner
The Roseway Waldorf school calendar is punctuated by four key festivals, marking the seasons:
- Easter – marking the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere, Easter is a time for celebrating new life and rebirth. Associated with the Christian celebration to mark the work of Christ on the cross, this festival is dedicated to new life in all its forms – both physical and spiritual.
- St John’s Festival – Marking the high point of summer, St John’s festival held fundamental significance to our ancient ancestors. The passage of the sun brought with it life in the form of crop growth and warmth. As such, it is accorded a place in our calendar to honour the seasonal changes that make daily life possible.
- Michaelmas – St Michael is known as the conqueror of the dragon, the heavenly hero with his starry sword, who gives strength to people.
- Christmas – this ancient festival has an important role in marking the passing of time and reminding us that there is more to life than our daily toil. It is a time of reflection and deep inner spiritual awakening, as we acknowledge the global truths available to us all.
Even more than that, though, we take these moments as opportunities to show gratitude both for the time we’ve been granted together, and anticipation of the gifts of time that lies ahead.
Waldorf Answers explains our focus on festivals further:
Seasonal festivals serve to connect humanity with the rhythms of nature and of the cosmos. The festivals originated in ancient cultures, yet have been adapted over time. To join the seasonal moods of the year, in a festive way, benefits the inner life of the soul. Celebrating is an art. There is joy in the anticipation, the preparation, the celebration itself, and the memories.
At Roseway Waldorf, we enjoy and respect cultural diversity carried into our community by the many faiths and life expressions represented here. The festivals of other religious groups are positively acknowledged, and form the basis of lively discussions in the classrooms, contributing to our scholars’ experience of diversity within a multicultural classroom.
As we head into this time of peace and celebration, we wish our Waldorf families and friends peace, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back safely into the new year.