Seasonal Rhythm and Waldorf Festivals
The topic of seasonal rhythm and Waldorf festivals is one I was so excited to explore on the podcast. Since rediscovering all things “Waldorfy” as an adult and parent, I’ve loved cooking and crafting for celebrations we’ve enjoyed as a family and community. However, there have been some “holidays” that haven’t had much meaning for me. Ones I’ve struggled to create purpose in celebrating. This fall Halloween was that day for me. I just couldn’t find any meaning in it outside of the candy and store bought plastic decorations. (Also I’ll ad that the pumpkins didn’t work out on the farm this year which didn’t help.) We ended up doing nothing for Halloween. Yep, nothing. Our little one Jasper is just one year old, so there was no need to do something, and I just figured I’d sit this one out until I can create a more meaningful way to celebrate.
Meaning was a large part of what Meagan and I talked about in our conversation about Waldorf festivals. More than it is celebrating a saint or a story from human history, (most of the Waldorf festivals are Christian leaning), it’s about celebrating the message and intended meaning as family or community.
There is the question of how these festivals connect with a diverse school community. We discuss this in the episode as it is a very relevant question for Waldorf schools all over the world. How much should Steiner’s ideas around these festivals be adapted to suit the community? This is a question many Waldorf schools worldwide are working through.
Seasonal rhythm is another topic that won’t be the same all over the world. Establishing a seasonal rhythm gives young children a feeling of place in the world and gives them some sense of the passing of time, which is very abstract for young children. We also touched on Meagan’s experience living in the southern hemisphere and how she worked to create a relevant seasonal rhythm for her family.
One of the ways Meagan suggests creating a meaningful, authentic seasonal rhythm is to look at how the indigenous people of the land where you’re living celebrated the passing of time. I loved this tip, since, as I mentioned I am deeply exploring the meaning behind what we’re celebrating in our home to be sure what we’re celebrating feels relevant to us and our family’s values. Meagan has many resources for this kind of exploration on her website.
Here's a link to the Whole Family Rhythms site. On her site Meagan has many resources for exploring ways to create a meaningful daily and seasonal rhythm, including season specific guides as well as holiday ones.
I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll mention it again since we’re still talking about rhythm. Here’s Shea Darain’s book, “Seven Times the Sun”. It’s one of my favorites about rhythm.
“Festivals, Family, and Food” A guide to seasonal celebration. By Diana Carey and Judy Large
“Festivals Together” A guide to multicultural celebration. By Sue Fitzjohn, Minda Weston, and Judy Large
“All Year Round” A Christian calendar of celebrations. By Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marije Rowling
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