Festivals are an integral part of school life at Mountain Sage. As with Waldorf inspired schools around the globe, our festivals are a celebration of seasonal changes connecting us to the world around us. They fall in an annual rhythm that can be strength-giving to both children and adults. The cyclical nature of festivals helps us remember the previous year’s festival experience and look forward to the next. For children, the preparation, anticipation, and the slow build toward the event is as important as the event itself.
These seasonal celebrations mark the changing of light, the relation of the earth to the sun, and the connection to what is universal in the cycle of the year. The festivals also acknowledge and incorporate human values and virtues, such as courage, perseverance, and gratitude. The festival themes are brought into the classroom through decoration, story, song, movement, and drama, often connecting us to traditions from other cultures. At Mountain Sage some festivals are for the entire, extended community, some are savored by a few classrooms and their families, and others are a school-day, student only experience. However they are experienced they are rich, multi-sensory events, beloved by all!
The Rose Ceremony happens twice each year, on the first day of school and on the last, in Waldorf schools around the world. The first day red roses are given by the 8th grade students to the incoming first graders. The red rose is a welcoming, symbolizing the beauty and joy of learning the children will experience in the grades program. The last day white roses are given by the 1st grade students to the graduating 8th graders symbolizing all the wisdom they have received in their school journey. It is a cycle of welcoming, remembering, and gratitude.
The Mountain Sage Harvest Festival is a community gathering celebrating the abundance of the season and courage for the struggles and deeds that lie ahead. We gather to recognize our striving, both as individuals and as a community, and ignite the light of all that is true and good so that it may radiate all through the coming winter. The fruits of the summer garden are shared with the warmth of soup and bread, and a sip of sweet apple cider. The children bring the magic of the season with songs and pageantry.
The Lantern Walk Festival is an evening event that gives the families of our younger grades a time of reverence and reflection as the darkening days of winter envelop our world. This celebration allows us to feel the bravery and brilliance of our own light in the closeness of nature’s winter departure. Each child holds their little lantern of light (made in class), singing and walking with their family and classmates through a luminaria lit path filling the evening with song and beauty.
The Mountain Sage Winter Faire is a celebration of our school community and the warmth we bring to each other during the cold of winter. Run entirely by parent volunteers, we create a special atmosphere of joy and caring. Truly a spark of light in the season of short days and long nights, children and adults alike delight in the ethereal nature of the Fairy Room, Crystal Cave, craft making, storytelling, music, and more.
Winter Spiral is a beautiful solstice tradition that celebrates our knowledge of light’s return once again. With reverence, darkness, and song, the students each walk a spiral path lined with pine boughs holding an apple that they will place to fill the path with light. The students participate in our Winter Spiral as part of the school day. This festival gives the students an opportunity for quiet reflection and hope as nature begins its winter sleep and we reach out into the community with warmth and love for all on earth.
Following in the footsteps of long-held traditions around the world, May Faire is a joyous festival celebrating the return of the sun and warm weather. It is also a wonderful time for renewing connections to our community, as we all emerge from the feelings of winter hibernation with fresh energy and hearts open with the vibrancy of the season. The festival is held during the school day with community members invited to watch various classes dance around the Maypole and listen to music as well as a finale community dance and plant sale. The students dress in their spring finery with flower crowns and face painting. This festival brings delight and joy that feeds our sense of beauty, community, and imagination.
Just as there is a rhythm to each day with different tasks appropriate to different times of the day, there is a rhythm to the year. Observing the changing season, in community, helps the children foster a sense of harmony with the rhythmic life of nature.