Festivals

As Steiner teaches, moving from the whole to the parts, each greater good occurs from the works of smaller groups down to the individual. This is true in our school community as you can see from the festival life that celebrates the seasons as well as each other. It trickles down to the individual community members who are baking with love, laboring with gusto, or sewing with intent concentration for someone other than themselves. It is ultimately this giving from which we can then receive. And when we then receive, it is met with that much more gratitude, and the impulse expands outward.

This beautiful rhythm of giving and receiving is what makes our community life shine so brightly and flow so strongly.

The festivals are an opportunity for celebration, a chance to revel in the joy of the season –be it in reverence or jubilation — to bring gifts of food or quiet presence, but always to bring with gratitude, joy, and goodness. Participation is important in creating and volunteering, as well as in appreciating what others have created for you. The major festivals at MPCS at this time are the Harvest Festival, May Faire, the Spiral of Light, and the Lantern Walk for the younger children.

Rose Ceremony

Every year, our rhythm begins and ends with a Rose Ceremony.

To start their new journey, Grade 1 students are presented with a rose by our Grade 8 students and they bravely walk across the bridge as a rite of passage into the grades.

During the school year, our Grade 5 Students, our second class of leaders, will buddy with the first graders for the next four years. They will meet throughout the year to go on nature walks, jump rope, carve pumpkins, create chalk art, and do other activities that allow them to enjoy their time together.

At the end of their Mountain Phoenix journey in May, our rising second graders will send our Grade 8 students off into the world with a rose. Wanting to be nurtured and guided into blossoming, the rose is a beautiful symbol of new beginnings no matter what stage of life one is embarking.

Harvest Festival

The Season of Autumn at MPCS

Each year, as we return to school in August, we know that summer is soon coming to an end and the fruits of nature ripen in this harvest season. The sunlight decreases, the nights lengthen, and we endeavor to keep our inner light burning, moving toward the darkness of winter. During this season, a picture of the archangel Michael who battles the evil dragon arises. This archetype has appeared in mythology for many years. Ancient Hindu texts describe Indra slaying a dragon while ancient Babylonians told of Marduk who slayed Tiamat. The archetype is of one who overcomes or transforms evil through moral courage in action.

We, as human beings, have the opportunity to rise to this call in our current times to overcome our own inner dragons that may manifest at this time of year as fear, anxiety, or a loss of ease. With this Michaelic impulse, we can move forward with this inner strength and initiative to bring about new and courageous ways of thinking and living in our communities.

In this season of autumn, we are reminded of this task, large and small. We not only can overcome our own fear and inactivity
as human beings, but we can seek to honor the courage and initiative that we see every day in individuals; to have interest in what others bring as gifts into the world and to encourage each other to move toward our full potential as human beings. In so doing, we can bring transformation in the world. In our current time, this becomes not only a celebration of a season, but an urgent call, seeking from each of us to find the good and the true in all of us, encouraging it to grow and flourish.

In our school, we carry this impulse and mood into the classroom in the season of autumn. The children may sing songs of ones who overcome the dragon. They may hear biographical stories of Michaelic Figures from history or mythology. They may engage in physical work of the will that helps to bring good to our campus and community. We strive to inspire the students with stories, old and new, of human courage, initiative, and responsible action.

We carry this mood forward and come together in celebration of autumn at our Harvest Festival, which, in turn, inspires us to move out into the world beyond our community with this initiative.

by Kelly Morrow

The Mountain Phoenix Harvest Festival is hosted by our Family Council as the first community gathering of the school year. This joyous annual celebration occurs around the time of the harvest and Michaelmas. We celebrate the change of season in community. Our Harvest Festival activities are related to the Story of St. George and the Dragon – overcoming the dragon to revitalize our confidence through courage, strength and determination. Historically, Harvests Festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Our event offers a shared feast including hot dishes, bread, pies & apple cider, as well as crafts and activities.

Lantern Walk

What is the Lantern Walk ?

Each November, an evening of beauty, wonder, and inspiration takes place for Waldorf schools around the world. The Lantern Walk commemorates Martinmas, as it is more commonly known in Europe, in honor of St. Martin, whose story (below) reminds us all of our shared humanity.

The Lantern Walk is a simple, reverent event bringing to life for our youngest children their role as a spark of light in the dark of night — a spark of light in the world. Processing peacefully along luminaria-lit paths, children carry their handmade lanterns, and all those walking sing traditional Lantern Walk songs that encourage us to be that warmth and light for ourselves and for others. Martinmas celebrates hope and kindness and being called to help others and be the good in the world.

The Story of St. Martin

Once upon a time there was a young man named Martin. He was kind and gentle. One day he was going to the city of Amien. As he walked along the country road, he rejoiced at seeing the tall trees with their branches swaying in the breeze and flowers of many colors growing from the ground, and at hearing birds chirping and singing. He said, “The world is good,” and felt happy to see the trees and flowers and hear the birds. The sun shone down on him, and he felt its warmth on his shoulders.

Soon he came to the gate of the city of Amien. He walked through a large archway. The sun was fading, and it began to get dark, so he lit his lantern. As he walked along, he came upon a man crouched on the ground shivering and cold with hardly any clothes on. Martin took off his cloak, tore it in two, laid one half over the shivering man, and gave him his lantern so he would have warmth and light.

Then he went on until he came to his place of rest, lay down on his bed, and went to sleep. While he slept he had a dream. In his dream there was an angel who said, “Thank you for giving part of your coat and your lamp to the shivering man so he could have warmth and light. Your name shall be St. Martin.” Again and again St. Martin gave clothing to those who were cold, food to the hungry, and light to those in need. (Borrowed from Waldorf Yarns)

Lantern Walk Lyrics

Lyrics For Lantern Walk

The Light That Lives Within

As we walk together in light, we may ask ourselves, “What ‘light’ — in other words, unique talents and gifts — lives within me that I can share with my family, with my community?” There are countless ways, every day, in which parents and teachers act on behalf of their children. Loving guidance and patient understanding shine on the children like a lantern leading them on their journey through childhood.

Let our Lantern Walk inspire and rekindle the light that lives within, and remind us to take that light, those gifts that each of us harbors, and share them in the innumerable ways that are meaningful to ourselves and those around us.

Winter Market

Family Council hosts our annual Winter Market that inspires the creative entrepreneur in our students and offers a wide array of kid activities, shopping opportunities and treats. Open to the public, this event showcases local artisans from within and out of our greater community. 

Spiral of Light

The Spiral of Light is a quiet and peaceful way to commemorate the start of the holiday season. It serves as a gentle pause from the hubbub and materialism that the season can sometimes bring. To set the mood, we make a spiral path of evergreen boughs with twinkling golden stars and lanterns that cast a very subtle glow into the room. As the children enter the darkened, candle-lit room, a hush fills the space with quiet anticipation. Each child is given an apple with an unlit candle inserted into it, a symbol of life and light in the darkest part of the winter. Children then bring their candles to the “candle of life” in the center of the spiral where a spiritual helper stands ready to assist them and light the apple candles. To complete their journey, children carefully walk back outward and place the candles on a golden star on the path.

As teachers and parents, we are touched by the reverence and awe the children naturally feel for the event, in preparation for the holiday festivals. Adapted from a variety of the world’s traditions, many of which feature miracles and light of some kind, as well as evergreen plants, our own tradition was created to honor a part of the cultural background and heritage of many families. We strive to create a ceremony that celebrates what is universally human.

Stewardship Day

Stewardship Day provides a wonderful opportunity to practice and teach stewardship, one of the core values at Mountain Phoenix. We believe that our children thrive when we responsibly provide a beautiful, safe, and fertile environment. To support this value, we host Stewardship Days every fall and spring.

Whether it’s pulling weeds, painting trim, moving rocks, or planting flowers — when our teachers, parents, and children come together to care for the earth and our campus, we gain respect and love for this place we call school.

Projects may include:

  • Move sand and wood chips.
  • Spread dirt and grass.
  • Paint ECE playhouse and picnic table outside of the Great Hall.
  • Organize the costume shed and primary building library.
  • Chainsaw stumps in front of the buildings.
  • Clean, organize, and beautify many areas on campus!

Respected Elders' Day

Respected Elders’ Day is a wonderful tradition that gives our elders the opportunity to experience MPCS’ school culture.

Equally important, it allows our students to show their gratitude and appreciation for the precious role that their elders play in their lives.

Past activities at the this MPCS tradition have included, but are subject to change:

Light breakfast (coffee, muffins, fruit, etc.); Time with grandchildren; Marionette puppet show (ECE); Student performances, including musical performances from band & orchestra.

This year, Respected Elders’ Day will occur on campus on Friday, April 5th.

An RSVP will be created and sent internally to our community. We request RSVPs by April 3rd.

Please note that this event is specifically for elder’s and as to not dilute the experience, we ask that parent/caregivers do not attend unless their elders need one-on-one assistance navigating the campus.

Thank you!

May Faire

As the flowers and animals awaken from their winter’s sleep, the community gathers to celebrate spring with music and dancing with colorful ribbons at the May Faire.

When we approach May Faire, our classroom preparations may include painting, sowing flower seeds, and making snail buns. Some classes enjoy watching a butterfly transform from caterpillar to butterfly and then setting it free. We may dye capes with colors from the Earth, or make fairy wands. We may have a visit from Lady Spring, who bestows little packets of flower seeds, or strews petals around. She helps us welcome the spring with its burst of flowers and renewed growth. Young children may dance around a May Pole at circle time and hear songs just for the event.

Pentathlon

The fifth-grade year is spent in preparation for the Pentathlon. Fifth-grade students study ancient Greece and the birth of modern civilization in main lesson. In games class, they train for this important culminating event.

As the children gather with other Waldorf schools to display their skill, much attention is paid not to winning, but to the display of perseverance, the fluidity of movements, the grace of good sportsmanship, and the beauty of form.

The Pentathlon features the following ancient Olympic events:

  • Javelin
  • Discus
  • Sprint (60 meters)
  • Long distance running (approximately 1/4 mile)
  • Wrestling

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