festivals and events

 

festivals and celebrations

...are part of life at Wasatch Waldorf Charter School. These events mark the seasons, holidays and cultural traditions, and build community.

The wholeness and connection of human beings with all life is at the foundation of Waldorf education. One way in which this connection manifests is through the observance of the changes in the seasons. These events become opportunities for outward observances of nature’s seasonal changes, but they can also become opportunities to learn about one’s own inner movement through the seasons of change as well. Celebrating festivals can bring us consciously to what we all experience instinctively in our daily lives, the changing cycles of the seasons and of life itself. Through various festivals and rituals we acknowledge and celebrate our connection to and our responsibility toward each other and
the world.

The celebration of festivals is an important part of Waldorf education. A festival is a joyous celebration of life, and has the quality of lifting us out of the ordinary and magic of the rhythm of the seasons. Throughout history, festivals have people’s connection with their spiritual life and their search for the meaning of  existence. The celebrations are interwoven with the life of the earth and the cycles of nature.

For example, we can experience the autumn in a natural way as we watch the colorful changing of the leaves, feel the crispness in the air, and taste the tartness of a newly picked apple. We can experience it also, in a spiritual way, if we begin to perceive the beauty around us. The awe of a special sunset can quicken a sense of reverence, stir us to voice a few poetic lines, or feel an inner peace. A common experience of joy and reverence is what allows a festival at a particular time of year to unite a whole community.

fall

first day celebration

To mark the beginning of the school year, the children gather on school grounds together to sing the school song, greet their teachers, and file into school behind the bagpipes.

rose ceremony

This special assembly opens the school year by drawing a parallel between the first grader’s beginning their educational journey and the eighth graders who are drawing their journey to a close. First graders arrive a little later on the first day and are escorted by their parents on foot to the school building. As the harp gently plays, they are greeted by an eighth grade student, who presents each first grader with a rose to carry under a lovely archway and to their waiting first grade teacher and class. Once in the classroom, the roses are placed in a vase, symbolically marking the forming of a new class, destined to come together and remain so for many years to come. This moment marks a transition from early childhood and the beginning of their journey into the grades, and marks the beginning of the last year of the journey for the eighth grade students.

Coordinated by the Kindergarten & First Grade

Coordinated by the Sixth Grade
& Games Program


festival of courage

Michaelmas, also known as The Festival of Courage, is the acknowledgement of the coming of Winter and the need to gather resources and strength. The stories of dragons conquered, give us strength to slay the dragons of our modern age, such as materialism and egoism. The autumn equinox is traditionally a time of mixed feelings, matching the changing of the seasons. In earlier times it was an occasion for gratitude for the harvest’s bounty but also a time of concern about the more challenging days ahead. As the days grew shorter and Summer ceded to Fall, it was a time to look inward and find one’s own strength and courage, as opposed to the outward push of spring. It is a time for children to harvest what was sown in the spring and what grew all summer. The earth draws its energy inwards, and so do children. With autumn, the earth draws into herself, and we also begin to draw into ourselves. Winter is the season of inner contemplation. When we look within ourselves, who knows what dragons we will find?

The struggle of St. George and the dragon is also a powerful image. There is not only courage needed to deal with the outer  cold and darkness, but also within ourselves courage is called for to shine light on those personal challenges we face as socially and morally-maturing human beings. When the deeper inner meaning of festivals is contemplated, a nourishing and sustaining quality enables us to participate and enrich our own lives and the lives of our families and our community.

Each September, we hold a school-wide celebration for students only, during the school day. In the spirit of Michaelmas, stories are shared about taming or slaying dragons. Students also enjoy an obstacle course, picnic, singing and dragon-themed crafts, art and bread. Students and faculty all wear red and reflect on the mood of the changing seasons and the areas in their lives that demand courage and fortitude. These activities blend the gifts of harvest with the courage needed to face life’s obstacles. 

Kindergarten students have their own version of this celebration at the KinderHouse.


harvest festival

This celebration of the season is an October weekend event open to the public. Students and their families and members of the broader community gather on school grounds to pursue offerings, such as a farm stand filled with produce from the school farm and arts and crafts from local artisans and vendors. Games for children, puppet shows, stories, and music, are also featured. The School’s Kitchen provides catering, and a large bake sale of goodies from the community tempts all who attend. This is a key community-building and fundraising event and all are encouraged to participate. Click here for more info

Hosted by the Wasatch Family Foundation & the Fundraising Committee

winter

Coordinated by the Fifth Grade

lantern walk

From France comes the legend of Saint Martin, who as a young man passed under an archway in the city of Amiens and discovered a poor beggar huddled there. The man was nearly naked, shivering with cold, and had received no alms to assist him. On seeing him, the young Martin took his own cape from his shoulders, tore the garment in half, and covered the poor man to warm him. The following night Martin had a dream in which he saw Christ wearing the same piece of his cape. The experience confirmed in him his devotion to all humankind regardless of their station in life.


Saint Martin was known for his gentleness, his unassuming nature, and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness. On the evening of Martinmas, he is remembered in many French households with a festival of lanterns, carrying light throughout the darkened home, singing songs. 


The Martinmas celebration is inspired by old customs honoring St. Martin. As the sun sets earlier and rises later, the world grows darker and the inner light of humankind wants to shine forth. Children and parents gather as the sun sets. Handmade lanterns, often decorated with stars, suns, and moons, are lit as a symbol for the children of their own individual light. And our walk into the cold, dark evening gives the kindergarten children and their families an experience of caring and sharing as we move toward the darkness of winter. In advance, classes frequently hold food or coat drives or engage in other community service. This quiet celebration is offered to all children at our school. 

The preschool and kindergarten classes typically hold a separate Lantern Walk at the park on the same evening with times scheduled for each class.


festival of light, santa lucia procession


At many Waldorf schools all over the world we celebrate the festival of Saint Lucia in
December. This Scandinavian festival of light brightens the dark days of midwinter and celebrates the life of Saint Lucia, an Italian saint known for her kindness and love. Saint Lucy or Lucia, whose name comes from the Latin word “lux” meaning light, wears a crown of candles on her head and brings sweet buns flavored with cardamom and saffron on this day.

The observance commemorates Lucia of Syracuse, an early-4th-century martyr who,
according to legend, brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the Roman catacombs. She wore a candle-lit wreath on her head to light her way, leaving her hands free to carry as much food as possible. Her feast day, which coincided with the shortest day of the year in the old Julian calendar, is widely celebrated as a festival of light. In Scandinavian countries, the oldest girl in the family wakes up before dawn and leads her siblings to deliver coffee and buns to their parents’ bedside. Schools often have their own Saint Lucia, and some towns and villages also choose a girl to play Saint Lucia in a procession where carols are sung.

A procession of light and song quietly winds around the school and is performed by the Seventh Grade, who also visits the preschool and kindergarten classes. Other grades silently observe the procession and then enjoy warm buns when they return to class.

Coordinated by the Seventh Grade

holiday music showcase

Orchestra and choirs from Grades 6-8 perform during December. Students may also be encouraged to perform solo or small ensemble work from their music practice. Often these performances happen at public community venues and all community members and families are welcome to attend.

Coordinated by the Music Program

spring

spring gala

This is an adults-only celebration and benefit for the school! Parents and community
members enjoy food, friends, music, dancing and a live and silent auction.

Hosted by the Wasatch Family Foundation & the Fundraising Committee


earth day cleanup

Parents, community members and disc golfers are invited to join in this school-sponsored effort to clean-up Creekside and Big Cottonwood Parks. Efforts are coordinated with Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.

Hosted by the Gardening Program

Hosted by the Festivals Committee
& Eurythmy & Music Programs

may faire

May Day is a Northern Hemisphere festival and is celebrated in many Waldorf schools. It is an ancient tradition of celebrating the arrival of Summer. Known as Beltane in Celtic lands, and celebrated by the Romans recognizing the goddess Flora, May Day is a popular tradition. The May Pole Dance is a joyful experience, and often the center of the May Day celebration. The May Pole often bears garlands and symbolizes the tree of life and growth of spring vegetation. This festival is celebrated as an entire school community. Children from each grade take turns doing a May Pole dance. The patterns get more complicated as the children mature.

This is a celebration of Spring for the entire school. The whole school day is devoted to activities: dancing round the maypole, outdoor games, and live music. Everyone is invited to wear white this day, and families are asked to donate flowers for crowns and supplies for crafts. Preschool and Kindergarten classes have their own, smaller celebrations of May Faire, but may visit the “big school” to watch some May Pole dancing.


all school assembly

The school year concludes with a final assembly. This event includes performances from all classes and the music program. The now confident first graders eagerly return the favor of the gift of a rose to the eighth grade students. The roses are kept by each eighth grader as they “look into the world” with their shared memories.

Hosted by the School Administration

eighth grade advancement

This rite of passage is held at the end of the school year. Families are invited to gather and celebrate the journey of these students through the 8th grade. Teachers and students speak and share music, certificates are presented.

Hosted by the School Administration & Eighth Grade


field day

The final day of school is an outdoor rotation of activities and games. This day usually
includes students in grades 1-7. Eighth grade students have their own special day to close
out the end of their journey together.

Hosted by the Games Program