Saturday, September 25, 2010

Michaelmas celebration

Today we celebrated Michaelmas with the local Waldorf community.
Michaelmas is named for Saint Michael, one of the four archangels, he is the angle of courage, the angle of the fight against evil. This celebration, as I understand it, invites us to take courage for the long dark winter ahead from saint Michael. I must confess that while I have for years now celebrated many of the festivals significant to the seasons and certain holidays especially in the Waldorf tradition, this was my first Michaelmas, so for a more in depth explanation of this wonderful celebration please look here
It was indeed a lovely celebration with every attention to detail
There were beautiful crafts for the children to do, weaving a fairy loom 
and making wet felted comet balls
 what really got my children, truly all the children, very engaged was the apple cider pressing. Everyone helped, first a few then everyone, and it was wonderful to see how quickly they got a system down. One would put the apples into the water, then many hands would wash them and put them into the dry tub. Once enough apples were cleaned, the children took turns adding the apples into the press, where they were first crushed by one the arm power of one of the children. Once the bucket underneath was full with the crushed apples, a lid was fixed to the bucket (and here I run out of proper vocabulary for this) and with  the help of a dasher of sort (?) and a horizontal cross bar, pressed by the children walking around the bucket pushing the bar (hope that made sense:)) And finally drinking the freshly pressed juice. It was wonderful the entire process, all we needed to complete the experience was to have just returned from the tree picking the apples ourselves 

Then came story time, a puppet show about Saint Michael and the dragon, it was made even more special by all the children following "mother nature", hand in hand, through a little forrest path to a shelter where the scene was set up for the play. The show was beautifully played and the children sat fully engaged  
with the story. Once the puppet story was finished and while singing a song together everyone helped move the benches to the side to make room for a big circle, if a thunderstorm had not just descended upon the roofs of the shelter we would have surely done the circle outside. We all learned two simple verses about St Michael which we all sang together, I had chills it was so beautiful. And as a completion, a dragon appeared which was then defeated by the courageous St Michael.
Then we shared a potluck dinner of yummy foods, while the rain drummed on the roof, and of course the children so full of excitement all ran into the rain, splashing in puddles running and jumping. It was a joy to behold. What childhood is all about.
I give thanks to all the beautiful families who helped put this wonderful celebration together. 
It was a lovely to participate.
It was lovely, truly lovely. Arranged with true intention, and this was felt by the children.
My favorite parts about Waldorf has always been the attention to natural beauty, to nature, to simplicity, the attention to the whole (be that a person or a process) and not least the reverence given to the task at hand, this festival represented all of those things, and I feel this goes a long way to help our children grow into sincere and caring adults, with a true connection to nature and world around them.

~thanks for coming by, and a beautiful rest of the weekend to you~


  1. That sounds so magical. I wish we had a waldorf school nearby.

  2. lovely pictures and what a wonderful day. very special!

  3. oh my goodness this looks just wonderful! I remember making weaving projects like that when I was a kid. But my favorite is the dancing in the rain. Simply fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi... we were there too, and I noticed that your second-to-last photo has my husband in it! I am wondering if there is any way that I could get a copy of it because I find it very funny. He was running in the storm with his raincoat and umbrella!

  5. What an amazing celebration! Simply lovely. We had our own Michaelmas celebration with a few other Waldorf-ish families in our area yesterday. I love how the festival can be celebrated so differently yet in the same spirit. Here's ours if you'd like to take a peek:

  6. What a very special day. Enjoy your week. xxx

  7. this is absolutely perfect in so many ways... you can see how free and light these sweet children... and parents really are... I'm so happy just reading this!

  8. How lovely! And, yay, more fairy looms! It looks like you all had a great time.Sorry we missed it. I'm going to send this link to my friend Emily. There are some great pictures of her and her children (she was helping in the puppet show and one of her daughters was helping with the cider press). Michaelmas blessings!

  9. what a sweet, sweet woman you are!! so thrilled that you made it out and that i finally got to meet you in person! thank you for your compliments on the intention and energy of the festival. it is something that is not taken lightly. so wonderful to know that it was so appreciated.

    i absolutely LOVE when the rain pours down and a festival turns into such a kid soaked good time! my daughter said she had a lot of fun playing *water fights* with your son.

    i appreciate these pics so much!! my son is there in many of them. thanks for this post!! xoxoxo

  10. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos! I did not get to take many so it is wonderful to see these. It was lovely to meet you and discover your blog.


  11. oh, we so wanted to go...i have missed every last michalemas celebration for one reason or another...i vow that next year i will make it there!

    this go round, i was in sc helping my sister pack & bring the first load back to our house...she is moving in THIS thursday! :)

    i am so glad that you posted photos, it looks like a lovely celebration.

  12. When I first heard of Waldorf, this is what I imagined it would be like. It was a lovely tale you told, and I want some of the apple juice RIGHT NOW. The play struck me oddly - especially the part about the dragon coming out and being vanquished by Michael. So medieval - a passion play. Ancient traditions mixed with earth-sensitivities and love and gratitude. Nicely done.

  13. Dawn,
    Of corse you may have a copy, I went o your blog to find a contact for you but couldn't, perhaps send me an email with your email and I will forward to you.


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