Michaelmas in The Waldorf Tradition

» Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Curriculum, School News | 0 comments

Raffaello_Sanzio_-_St_Michael_and_the_Dragon_-_WGA18633In Waldorf education, we celebrate Michaelmas — a traditional Christian celebration of the Archangel St. Michael — observed in the Northern Hemisphere since Roman times on September 29th and typically honored by a feast. Michaelmas is also held around the equinox and has been associated with the beginning of fall and the darker, colder days to come when all of mankind will need strength to survive.

St. Michael is a symbolic leader of the force of good over evil, courage over cowardice, and of watchfulness of languor.   The celebration of Michaelmas teaches the importance of overcoming fear and strengthening resolve.

Spring Garden, and many other Waldorf schools, celebrate Michaelmas by performing a play in the saint’s honor. Our performance’s is a story of King George and how with St. Michael’s help he is able to save the town from an evil dragon. We also fly kites with dragons on them to symbolize taming the dragon and overcoming fear during this “festival of courage.”

The exact story of the play we perform for Michaelmas is not told the same way in biblical or legendary tradition, but it is a variation on a theme of Michael being a warrior saint. The Archangel St. Michael does fight a dragon, in heaven and not on earth, in Revelation 12: 7-9:

Farmerkids

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels”

There is an earthly legend, however, of a dragon fighting saint, but it is the story of St. George. St. George was a Roman Soldier tortured and beheaded for his faith in 304 and declared a Saint in 494.  He has had many fanciful stories told about him, but the most popular tells of St. George saving a village by slaying a dragon that makes ongoing demands for sheep and maidens.

But it is not the literal story that represents the importance of the day, but the idea behind the story of good triumphing over evil and light triumphing over darkness. Humankind has many battles over darkness to attend too, many dragons to slay, and this is an essential lesson for our students.

Each student must face their own difficulties in life, both internal and external, and Michaelmas both educates and empowers the children to find the courage to take on and defeat their personal dragons. And so, we celebrate Michaelmas in the Waldorf tradition to remind ourselves of the strength we need in the coming season and in our personal lives to defeat darkness and let hope prevail.

 

534444_10151054967267539_412040424_nStudent Roles:

  • First Grade: Gnomes

  • Second Grade: Meteors

  • Third Grade: Peasants and Farmers.

  • Fourth Grade: Knights

  • Fifth Grade:  Chorus, Voices for Meteors

  • Sixth Grade:   Chorus

  • Seventh Grade:   Chorus, Voices for Gnomes, Ringing of the Irons

  • Eighth Grade: The Dragon

578366_10151050376037539_1053995028_n2013 Michaelmas Schedule – September 27

  • 9:00 a.m.   - Kite Flying – Miss Kathy’s Class

  • 11:10 a.m. – Kite Flying – Miss Olga’s and Miss Julie’s Classes

  • 12:45 p.m. – Kite Flying – Grades 1 – 8

  • 2:00 p.m.   - Early Dismissal (Aftercare is still available until 6:00 p.m.)

  • 6:15 p.m.   - Students report to their classrooms to prepare for the play

  • 6:30 p.m.   - Michaelmas Play

 

Parents, families, and friends are welcome to join us for kite flying! Weather permitting, the play will be performed on the outside stage; otherwise it will be performed in the gym.

 

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>