On May 1st we came together for our final community celebration of the 2014-2015 school year to celebrate May Day. The children had been practicing their dance and song for weeks. Families brought fresh flowers in and together we built flower wreaths for our heads. The children beautifully sang their songs and skipped around the May Pole, while the ribbons wove an intricate pattern up the pole. Our Grades children, along with their teacher, serenaded us on violin.
Afterwards we shared food, drink, and best of all, each others company. Learn more about the origins of the maypole here.
Tonight families of Bayou Village School and their children will gather on the playground for our Advent Spiral. An inwardly spiraling path of evergreens will be laid out. The center will hold a lit candle. Each child will walk the spiral slowly, reverently. Upon arriving at the center, she will light her candle. The child then goes back, placing her light carefully somewhere along the path. Once every child has gone, the entire spiral will be lit with candles!
The gift of light we thankfully take
But not shall it be alone for our sake
The more we give light
The one to the other
It shines and it spreads and it glows still further
Until every spark by friends set aflame
Until every heart with joy to proclaim
In the depths of our souls a shining sun glows.
In the classroom, we are celebrating Advent by honoring each kingdom of nature. Last week, the classes attention was directed towards the mineral kingdom. This week, our focus will be on plants. In the third week, appreciation will be given to the animal kingdom. The fourth week will culminate with respect for the human being.
During each week leading up to Christmas, the children will craft special items related to the kingdom being honored. This week, we are making felted stones and will begin sewing little gnomes and pouches as well.
Read below to learn more about Advent and what is in store for tonight's Advent Spiral.
Re-published from the Austin Waldorf School website :
Advent is a time for quiet contemplation for what is to come during the winter festival, the revelation of a deep mystery. Advent, from the Latin "to come," is the period including the four Sundays just before Christmas. In the tradition of the Christian Churches, one candle is lit each Sunday until the light of four candles heralds the birth of Christ. Yet Advent and even the feast day we now celebrate as Christmas have a far wider traditional context. For thousands of years before Christianity, the Egyptians celebrated the Festival of Osiris, the Celts and Druids held great festivals of fire and light, and the Jewish people celebrated Hanukkah. This holiday has had festival connotations of light and the sun, of the time when winter draws to its close and spring begins. Nearly all cultures have acknowledged the mystery of this moment. At the time of the winter festival, we can recognize that we too will ultimately triumph over the darkness in our lives. The celebration of Advent can honor and revere the kingdoms of nature. In the first week attention may be directed to the mineral kingdom. In the second week respect may be focused on the plants. In the third week appreciation may be given to the animal kingdom. Respect for the human being is then the culmination of the fourth week.
The Advent Spiral, a kindergarten and lower grades festival, is one of light, movement, and symbolic change. A spiral of greens or ribbons of cloth is laid out on the floor and decorated with crystals, shells, plants, and carved animals representing the kingdoms of nature. Each child walks to the center, carrying an unlit candle, which is lighted from the tall brightly-burning candle there. Moving outward, the child places the candle somewhere along the spiral pathway, bringing it to light. This passage reflects winter's dark growing to a close and the renewed promise that spring light and life will begin again.
The Advent Spiral is also perhaps the most deeply moving community festival of the year. As part of the Adult Education program, opportunity is provided for adults to walk the spiral and experience its beautiful and powerful symbolism. Children are also welcome if they can honor the mood of quiet contemplation.
This is Bayou Village School's space to share stories, happenings, recipes, ideas, and garden and festival life, associated with our magical school.