May Day Celebration

By Ms. Erica

What a beautiful May Day celebration! The Swallowtail Farm Campus was the perfect place for our festivities. Parents and children wove ivy and brightly colored flowers into crowns and the children danced with their class around the maypole. A community picnic followed.

The Middle School students also performed their class play, a Commedia dell’Arte production; “Cupid’s Arrow Amiss.”

Candlemas

By: Ms. Erica

Whether Candlemas be dark or clear, forty days of winter will still be here.

February 2nd  is one of the cross-quarter days in the wheel of the year. It falls exactly between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of Spring. In Christian tradition Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd. In Celtic traditions it is called Imbolc and in Ireland it is celebrated as St. Brigid’s Day.

Candlemas celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple and the ritual purification of Mother Mary. In the church, it is celebrated by a procession of candles, and candles are blessed in the ceremony and then taken home to be used.

Imbolc is associated with the increasing light of the sun as winter gives way to spring. In Ireland, February 1st is St. Brigid’s Day, who began as a Pagan goddess and became a Christian saint. She was a fire and fertility goddess and on the feast day, her statue was washed in the sea and then carried in a cart through the fields surrounded by candles.

This festival day carries the themes of purification and light. It is considered an auspicious day to ‘clean out the hearth’ in preparation for spring. This festival is about new beginnings, so it is a good time to reflect on what you want to accomplish or change. Light a fire and then reflect on your hopes for the upcoming year.  What new seeds do you want to plant? It can also be celebrated by lighting a candle in a window as it gets dark, as a symbol of the increasing light.

Here are some ways that Waldorf families celebrate Candlemas:

One would be to think of goals and things you would like to see happen in this New Year together, in this time of new beginnings, as the earth becomes Spring again and do something to celebrate that.

Of course, the major activity is usually candle-making in some form – rolling candles, candle dipping, making earth candles outside in the ground and lighting them.  Some families have their candles blessed on this day.

Some families celebrate by tilling a garden plot for March planting.

You could  have dinner in candlelight.

Spiral of Lights

By Ms. Erica

The Spiral of Lights is a ceremony that is lit only by candles and smelling of fragrant evergreens. Students and their teacher walk, one at a time, into the spiral of evergreens to the center. Each student lights their candle and winds back out of the spiral, placing their lit candle somewhere along 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 winter days ahead.

This year the Spiral of Lights will be held in the barn at our Farm Campus. Parents and children will meet in the yurt to enjoy hot cider as they wait their turn to walk the spiral before being led to the barn by their class teachers. As a special treat, the music for the Spiral of Lights will be provided by Swallowtail alumni.

Martinmas Lantern Walk

By Ms. Erica

The Martinmas Lantern Walk is a traditional Waldorf festival celebrated by Waldorf schools around the world recalling the story of St. Martin who grew up in Italy. One evening he was riding his horse through town and saw a beggar shivering with cold. He stopped his horse; dismounted, tore his cloak in half and wrapped the poor beggar in it. He then left his lantern for the poor beggar to warm himself and have some light that cold, cold night.

St. Martin represents caring for one another, especially those in need, by bringing warmth and kindness to every human being.

We celebrate with a simple tradition of making lanterns in our classrooms and going on a lantern walk bringing our light into the darkness. In addition we have an annual warm coat, hat and mitten drive for those in need.  Please see the posters around the school for more information.

We encourage all of our school families to join us on our lantern walk, singing or walking quietly, honoring this sacred light festival.