Festivals are an integral part of school life. As with Waldorf Schools around the globe, our festivals celebrate seasonal changes and acknowledge and incorporate human values and virtues, such as courage and perseverance. The festival motifs are brought into the classroom through decoration, story, song, movement, and drama. Some cultural festivals are observed in conjunction with a specific grade curriculum, while others are celebrated as school-wide assemblies and events.
Shining Mountain deeply recognizes the wholeness and connectedness of human beings with all life, especially through the observance of seasonal changes. Our community festivals connect us with traditional cultures world-wide that have for centuries marked the turning points of the year. Celebrating festivals can bring us consciously to what we all experience instinctively – the changing cycles of the year and life itself.
The Shining Mountain school year begins with the Rose Ceremony, held on the first morning of school. This gathering includes an introduction of faculty and staff and a welcome to the 1st Graders. A High School Senior will present a rose to each 1st Grader and escort the student from his/her family to the new 1st Grade teacher. The teacher will welcome the class with a story. 2nd through 8th Grades will be seated with their teachers and return to class following the ceremony.
There is a complementary Rose Ceremony at the end of the school year, when the 1st Graders present roses to the graduating Seniors.
Shining Mountain Waldorf School, in the tradition of Waldorf schools world wide, has a long standing, rich festival life. One of the most beloved festivals is Michaelmas, the celebration of the Festival of St. Michael. As the days become shorter and the autumn months unfold, we call on our Michaelic courage to meet the darker days and places in ourselves symbolized by the dragon.
Martinmas & Lantern Walk
In November, the Kindergarten through 2nd Grade celebrate Martinmas with a reverent lantern walk. The children will create beautiful lanterns in school and the parents offer support by providing and serving snacks and hot cider and tending the fire.
As the sun sets earlier and the world grows darker, this tradition of making and carrying lanterns into the dark evening symbolizes that the inner light of humankind wants to shine forth.
Beginning in early December, this festival of light celebrates a kindling of the inner light as winter draws close and days grow shorter. It represents the renewed promise that spring light and life will begin again.
The Spiral Garden is created with a spiral of greens in the HS Assembly Hall. Kindergarten and the early grades participate in the spiral walk . The spiral is resumed in the High School with a separately attended spiral walk for the older students.
The festival of Santa Lucia takes place on December 13th. A young Santa Lucia, the oldest girl in grade two, leads her classmates in procession from classroom to classroom, singing and offering fresh-baked treats.
Shining Mountain celebrates the coming of spring with a May Pole celebration during school hours. All families are welcome to meet in the courtyard of the lower school where the festivities will begin. Everyone will then follow the 1st through 8th Grades to the field outside the Festival Hall for music and dancing around the May Pole, followed by a community picnic.
As with Michaelmas, the Kindergartens celebrate the May Pole with their own separate festival day, with May Pole dancing followed by a community picnic.