When: Friday, September 27, 2019 Time: 9am Where: Hemlock back yard Who: Grades classes and their families
What is Michaelmas? Michaelmas (pronounced Mi-kel-miss) was originally a Christian festival in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. It is the feast day of the archangel St. Michael, and is celebrated on the 29th of September each year.
Because Michaelmas falls near the equinox, it is commonly associated with the beginning of autumn. Waldorf schools use Michaelmas to teach students the importance of using courage to prepare for the colder, darker, winter months as we begin to feel the impulse to turn inward after the long, warm days of summer, and gather up strength and fortitude to face the colder days and long nights of the winter ahead. In addition to honoring St. Michael and marking the beginning of fall, Michaelmas represents harvest time – a time when people make preparations for the winter.
Celebrating Michaelmas at Comox Valley Waldorf School Michaelmas, or the Festival of Courage, is our first festival of the new school year celebrated on the last Friday in September. The festival is open to all family members to attend and takes place in our Grades school back yard right after drop off. The grades children perform the play of St. George taming a fiery dragon with the help of the archangel, St. Michael, who gives him courage. Following the play there is a small harvest themed feast which usually includes fresh baked dragon bread baked by the Kindergarten children, apple juice pressed from our own apples and grapes picked from our grape arbor.
Michaelmas Games Parents are invited to participate in the Michaelmas Games which feature activities and games of courage. This takes place at Martin Park, just around the corner from our school on Thursday, September 26th from 11am - 12:30pm.
St. George Play The story of St. George taming the dragon symbolizes the inner courage it takes to face our human challenges. As the days grow colder and the nights grow longer, we must find and bring forth our own inner light when the sun, warmth and growth of the earth are fading.
St. Michael, who gave courage to St. George, gives us courage to uphold what is right and true, and the strength to face the challenges that lie ahead. The story speaks to children in a deeply symbolic way, feeding their innate need for truth and justice. “Michaelmas is a great time to ponder our own inner dragons and to cultivate the courage and strength necessary for self development.” – from Waldorf Publicationsnewsletter
Why Do we Not Celebrate this Festival with the ECE? Festivals allow us to be attuned to the rhythms of the Earth and the community we live in. Regardless of personal beliefs and faith, every human being can connect with the magic and gifts that each turning of the seasons brings. Many festivals are celebrated school wide while others are held within each class.
Some festivals, such as The Rose Ceremony, Michaelmas and Santa Lucia are reserved for the Grades, as their content and celebrations are more appropriate for older children. EC Families are often welcome to attend with their children if they desire. Oftentimes, the EC children glimpse parts of these festivals (by contributing bread for the Michaelmas feast, being visited by Grade 3 in their St Lucia procession), offering an exciting peek into what is to come when they journey to the "big kid's school".