Waldorf education "emphasizes early experiences of daily and annual rhythms, including seasonal festivals drawn from a variety of traditions." It's believed that these rhythms positively impact the children's development, helping them learn to regulate themselves and learn to anticipate things in life.
This philosophy is one of the ideas that has made me consider Waldorf education with interest. Particularly important are the festivities celebrating the change into new seasons of the year. I love this idea of being closer to nature and the seasons, and finding natural rhythms to our lives so I've been looking into the Waldorf-celebrated festivals.
The festival celebrated to mark the beginning of the fall is Michaelmas. This is the celebration of the Archangel Michael fighting against the dragon and casting him out of heaven. It usually involves swords and capes and all kinds of dragon references.
I took quite a few days of research and pondering--along with Jeremy--to decide whether or not we wanted to introduce this tradition into our home. Because although I want to bring enjoyment and fun, I also don't want to confuse truth in our home, or introduce doctrines that conflict with or confuse what we are trying to actively teach our children.
I read Revelation chapter 12 which tells the story of Michael and the dragon. But in truth, I found much of the symbolism of the dragon and his tail that "drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth", to be so plain to me that I hardly noticed that it was symbols telling me the familiar story. So to turn around and emphasize the symbols to my children instead of the plain teachings did not sit well with me.
Yet, I was sad to not have this significant celebration to mark the beginning of fall. Until, I remembered that we already had our own celebration to mark the beginning of fall.
My family got to enjoy some of the festivities each year while we lived in Germany, and since getting married Jeremy and I have been particularly keen to continue to celebrate the fest. So now, we have another reason to continue our celebrations!
Generally our celebrations will include some assortment of the following:
- Senf (That's mustard, but not the sissy yellow American stuff, it must be brown, speckled, and contain horseradish. . . mmm. . . )
- Kaiser rolls
We've tried homemade rootbeer a number of times, and have found a recipe that gives us good success.
1 bottle Rootbeer extract (2 oz)
5 gallons water
5 pounds sugar
5 pounds dry ice
It's easy to remember the 1-5-5-5 recipe, but usually we only actually use 4 pounds of sugar. And this time, since it was a small party we halved the recipe.
I boiled the sugar in part of the water to dissolve it. This is the first year I've done this but feel it's necessary because the sugar never fully dissolves in cold water.
The water will hold more fizz if it's cold to begin with. So chill it and pour the water, and sugar water into the cooler.
We used some sassafras flavoring this year for the heck of it as well.
Pour flavorings into the water and stir.
Add dry ice and RUN!!! I mean put a lid on it.
You need to make sure the vessel you're using is large enough that the syrup doesn't start splashing and bubbling out over the sides when you drop the dry ice in. (We and the kitchen floor of "The Burrow" learned that one the hard way.) Also, if you're afraid of your cooler blowing up you can release pressure every once in a while. In about 20 minutes, you have delicious homemade rootbeer.
And I know that our kids will remember this tradition!