Michaelmas is celebrated today in the Waldorf Steiner community, and originated as a Christian festival during the Middle Ages in Western Europe. It is the feast day of the Archangel St. Michael, celebrated on 29th September.
Michaelmas falls near the Autumnal equinox, marking the darkening days in the Northern hemisphere. It also traditionally marks the end of harvest and is a time to make jams and chutneys to preserve food for the winter. Apples are picked and juiced, baked or made into crumbles. It is a time to wrap up warm in coats, mittens and hats.
In Waldorf schools, children re-enact the story of St. George, a courageous knight, and the patron saint of England, who must tame the dragon to save the people in the village. They learn Knight Michael songs, and make wooden swords and papier maché dragons.
“Brave and true I will be Each good deed, sets me free Each kind word makes me strong I will fight for right! I will conquer the wrong!
Sword of Michael brightly gleaming Down to earth its light is streaming May we see its shining rays In the Winter’s darkest days”
This is a meaningful time too, perhaps one in which we can reflect on our own inner strength and courage, as we think about forgiveness and love, and look at the world around us.
Another Steiner tradition is to bake dragon bread. The simplest way to do this is to make different sized balls of dough and form the shape of a dragon. Use scissors to snip in some scales. I make my wings separately and secure them with a wooden skewer, and add some rosemary to represent spikes and fire. A lovely bread to break and share!
Paula is a Montessori teacher and Forest School Leader who has run the much loved Woodentots Montessori nurseries in North London for over 30 years. Recently recognised as Montessorian of the Year, Paula’s schools offer a unique and rich mix of Montessori, Steiner and Forest School, with child-led creativity at their core.
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