Friday, June 21, 2013

The Lantern Festival


Last night mum and dad van took great pleasure in arriving at Michael Oak Waldorf at 645pm to watch and help celebrate the lantern festival, shortest day of the year…. it was so gorgeous – the evening started with all the parents and kids in one of the kindy rooms with a story told by their lovely teacher about lanterns and gnomes and mother earth and seed babies – amazing to see all the kids totally absorbed in this beautiful magical story that even I had trouble sitting still with as it was pretty long– but they were all so mesmerised.  Then we all had to leave them behind us parents and go down to another room to await their arrival for the main part of the evening – they all walked in quietly, in awe of the evening. There had been magical light on arrival to the kindy grounds where candles in brown paper bags weighed down with sand  lined the path and transformed their daily garden for play into a magical land of light. So they arrived in the room and sat on chairs in a semi-circle all very quiet and a little bell sounded and each one (one at a time only) were urged gently to enter a tunnel of sorts – to walk down steps with their unlit lanterns into the unknown – it was probably quite a scary thing for them to do – I was surprised at how many went without  pause – out of 19 all but one needed their mum to go with – then they travelled out (we didn’t know where) and eventually came back into the room from the back with their candles alight.  We were so proud of all our kids and us especially of Julia – they came back with a tin in addition to the lanterns they had been all making for a few weeks leading up to the festival. 

Songs were being sung by all the kids and us parents as each child went on their journey to meet mother earth in the cave and to collect their seed baby with a blanket to keep it warm.

At the end all of us parents were invited to go into the cave in a single row (we had had no idea of what they experienced ) the spiral ramp that led down from one of the teachers classrooms to a different level below.  It was totally magical – all lined on the roof, sides and floors with satin and aglow with soft light from candles and mother earth herself sat in the corner wearing a golden robe – she had lit every child's lantern and given them a seed baby with a blanket (leaf with gold glitter) and that's what was in the tins.

I  am almost crying now with joy and wonderment and such gratefulness for the tremendous effort the teachers at Waldorf take to give the kids such a gift of fantasy and enrich them with such powerful values of respecting mother earth and treasuring gifts like the bulb and simple blanket of a leaf with golden glitter – all kids need is imagination to run wild with and to play – so they can stretch their minds to  become the most creative and adaptable  adults later on in life.

So I am so grateful for the ability to provide Julia with this gift through Waldorf.

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