Throughout history cultures have employed rituals that reflect the patterns of nature and mark transitions for individuals or groups. All around the world in Waldorf schools the daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms infuse the life of the school. The purpose of each school´s festival life is to bring the community together and enrich the soul of each individual. Some festivals are small events — the teacher and their class. Others are for the entire school, while others include the school’s greater community and neighbours.
- Dress in your best for the maypole celebrations, especially in green, and wear a flower crown.
- Stay out all night!
- Gather in the green to decorate the house with
- Wash your face in the morning dew. If you wash your face in the May Day dew, you have the promise of a fine complexion!
- Conceive a new project, grasp that idea, and get on with it.
- Dress your home with greenery – especially with hawthorn, rowan and birch branches.
- Dress a tree. This is the perfect time to go out and celebrate a tree. Especially a hawthorn, rowan or birch. Hang ribbons from its branches, each ribbon represents a wish or prayer.
- Flowers, flowers and more flowers. Make a flower crown to wear (the daisy chain being the simplest of all)
- Make a traditional flower basket. Fill it with greenery – all the flowers and herbs you can find. Give it someone you love.
- Make some Summer Bread
- Plant an idea
- Share a bonfire with friends. Its one of the simplest and most fun things to do on a festival day, light a fire and have friends over.
By celebrating the passage of the seasons through art, music and story, we strengthen our connection to the rhythms of nature.
Waldorf schools and communities that I’ve encountered generally follow a pluralist, open/multi-faith approach to festivals. I believe that it is the great festivals that unite us beyond religion to our shared birth place the Earth. This said I also recognize my own bias and so it is worth clearly stating that our diversity of cultural, religion and background is something to value and cherish within each of our communities. Our stories and journeys should be woven into the fabric of our festivals, keeping traditions alive by updating, reforming and creating, just as has always been the case.