Celebrating the Festivals is an important part of the Waldorf tradition. Festivals bring about a rhythm to the year, a breathing-in and breathing-out, and remind us of the cycles of the Earth. God put these important cycles in place for us, and I believe that it’s critical to our own well being that we celebrate and remember them. Not all Waldorf families will celebrate every festival, but there are some that are generally celebrated. Celebrating with a community is an incredible blessing, especially as homeschoolers, when we might not have a whole lot of other people around us who are celebrating with us. Last night, we were incredibly blessed to celebrate Candlemas with a new local group we have, Clarksville Waldorf Families.
Candlemas is the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Traditionally, this is the time when new candles were made for the rest of the year, and the Church blessed the candles for the upcoming services. It’s a time where we remember that Spring is, indeed, coming, at what seems like the coldest point of the year. This year, it’s especially important, I believe, with these Arctic Blasts freezing us to our core all over the country. It is from Candlemas that we here in the US get our holiday Groundhog’s Day. An old Candlemas verse we found yesterday illustrates this:
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.
Although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday, I personally think Pennsylvania was having a weird weather day, because EVERYONE else I spoke to on Facebook said that it was gross and rainy where they were, just like it was here. So I’m calling for an end to winter. Kaitlyn disagrees. Mostly because we turned around and woke up to snow this morning. You can find out more about Candlemas at The Mystical Kingdom and The Parenting Passageway.
Last night, we got together with our local Waldorf homeschool community, and had a Candlemas celebration. Since we’re very new as a group, we’re still getting to know each other. We were invited to a member’s house (thank you for opening your beautiful home to us, S!!), and had a potluck style supper together with warm, comforting soups, stews, and curries. It was SO wonderful! About 40 people in all showed up, from 5 families, which means a LOT of kids! The Little Ones rolled candles with sheets of beeswax. The Big Girls each made tissue paper lanterns with 7 day candles bought at the dollar store, and they were just LOVELY. And the rest of the Big Kids dipped candles. (Let me apologize up front for the bad photos. For some reason, I forgot my camera, and only had my phone on me.)
After the candles were finished, we went out to the porch, and held a circle, where we sang a beautiful song about St. Brigid (whose Feast Day is today). We didn’t do much else for St. Brigid’s Day last night. She’s the Saint of wheat, dairy, and fertility. We obviously didn’t need help with fertility (did I mention there were a LOT of kids there), and most everyone was Gluten Free. So, yeah. ;-)
It was a beautiful evening, with the best of what a festival brings us, beauty, light, and friends.
I am so blessed to finally have a Waldorf homeschool community local to us. There’s only one Waldorf school in the state of Tennessee, so getting down there for each Festival is just not going to happen, and many times, they celebrate during school, anyway. To have a group to come together and enjoy the rhythms of the year with is so important, and I’m very much looking forward to getting to know the entire group and becoming wonderful friends!