The celebration of Michaelmas happens in most Waldorf schools, which seems appropriate as Waldorf education echoes the essence of the festival. Each and every person has a gift to bring to the world. Can we learn to recognize and have interest in each other's gifts, and encourage each other toward our full human potential? Being human is not merely physical qualities related to skin and bones, but is essentially the process of individual spiritual transformation leading humanity toward its future evolution. Overcoming our antipathy and self-centeredness, and meeting each human being with interest and recognition as a fellow human being: this is what Michaelmas celebrates. It is a festival of what is truly human. So too with Waldorf education, which strives to teach children not by merely imparting facts and information, but by recognizing the impulse and gifts within each child and nurturing them towards full expression. In this process, a genuine interest and care for the world unfolds into a lifelong love of learning.
Our Celebration - Friday, September 30, 2016
Michaelmas is the first festival of the school year, often celebrated on the last Friday in September. At WSMC, all the grades classes present a pageant of the legend of St. George, who, with Archangel Michael’s help, tames the dragon. At the height of the harvest season, anticipating the darkness of winter, we gather the bounteous gifts of summer’s light. Michael wields his sword of light against fear and darkness brought by the dragon. This inspires us to face the inner and outer darkness with courage and strength of will. Each grade plays a certain part in the pageant, an experience that students enjoy, as they anticipate their turn to play important roles.
Parents are invited to attend and enjoy a coordinated potluck meal of soups afterwards.
The early childhood teachers create a beautiful separate event for the youngest students and then they join the rest of the school to watch the older students’ pageant and share in the all school potluck.
Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, is celebrated on the 29th of September every year. As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.
St. Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, protector against the dark of the night and the Archangel who fought against Satan and his evil angels. As Michaelmas is the time that the darker nights and colder days begin - the edge into winter - the celebration of Michaelmas is associated with encouraging protection during these dark months. It was believed that negative forces were stronger in darkness and so families would require stronger defenses during the later months of the year.