Updated: Sep 9
Celebrating festivals with Children by Laura Lopez
Raphael House Kindergarten
Celebration of festivals is one of the special elements of our Waldorf Curriculum.
By celebrating festivals, we hope to nurture a sense of reverence and awe, which can be carried
into family traditions and different cultural practices.
Whilst we don’t celebrate festivals in a religious way, they still offer us the possibility to ponder on
the mystery and cycle of life. These are universal themes and they often offer a pathway for the
journey of the soul. Different cultures create different festivals to express this journey and offer an
opportunity to ponder different spiritual themes.
Celebrating festivals with children offers us the opportunity to elevate ourselves out of the ordinary,
and instil reverence into our life. By following the rhythms of nature throughout the year, we
develop a deeper relationship with the world of nature and its rhythms.
Observing these rhythms can help us see the world with wonder, bring rhythm into our own life and provide a sense of security - after Winter, always comes Spring:
Festivals celebrated as a family or as a community can help us create beautiful memories and
strengthen the bonds that bind us together.
In the same way that Christmas offers us the picture of the mystery of birth, Easter carries with it
the picture of the mystery of death and resurrection, new life and transformation.
Children are continually surrounded by this process of death and re-birth. New leaf buds form in
autumn as the old leaves are shed. Ripe fruit can serve as food but also contain the seed from
which new seedlings will sprout when the right conditions prevail. An autumn bulb contains a
special secret that will reveal itself in springtime. In the animal kingdom, a caterpillar creates a
chrysalis in which it lives in darkness to emerge transformed as a butterfly.
Here in the Southern hemisphere, we celebrate Easter in Autumn:
Easter table at Pohūtukawa classroom
For Māori ancestors, this would be the time to store kai in preparation for the colder months. The
pātaka (cupboards and storehouses) would be full of food for everyone to last them through the
next few months.
A time of bounty, but also a time of preparation for winter. We can celebrate our riches and the
fruits of our work, but at the same time we stock-take, and prepare for winter.
These are gifts from the Natural World and our tipuna to help us reflect on our own soul journey and our own spiritual growth.
Whilst we don’t speak with children about these things, we hold these pictures and the reflections
they evoke within ourselves to inspire our actions.
In the next few weeks, we will be sharing with you our plans for the celebration of Easter at the
In the meantime, you may want to think about the following…
What festivals do you celebrate as a family?
What family traditions do you want to create in your own home for your children?
Jaffke, Freya (2011): Celebrating festivals with children, Floris Books.
Leenman, Colette (2007): Easter in Autumn, Libran Press.
Steiner, Rudolf: Festivals and their meaning