Shepherd Valley Waldorf School K - 8
Autumn - Festivals of Harvest
shepherd valley students

Autumn is the time of harvest and abundance.  The days begin to grow short as darkness comes earlier and earlier each evening.  Many festivals of this time relate to “light”.  Jack-o-lanterns, Lantern Walks and the Advent Spiral (in the winter) are all reminders to find the light within to help us through the winter’s darkness.

Opening and Red Rose Ceremony - First Day of School

The first day of school is a rite of passage for the rising First Graders.  The ceremony marks the beginning of their journey through grade school.  All of the grades classes assemble along with parents, faculty, and staff.  Kindergarten parents and children are also invited.  Each First Grade student receives a rose presented by an Eighth Grade students, who welcomes the young one into the grades school.

Michaelmas - September 29

This date has been known as Saint Michael’s Day since the 9th century.  It comes just after the autumn solstice when the days and nights are of equal length.  Waldorf Schools around the world celebrate Michaelmas and are working to revive this festival.  There are many depictions of the Archangel Michael in art showing him fighting the dragon.  Michael’s knight, St. George, is also portrayed conquering the dragon.  According to legends, Michael sends his meteoric iron by means of shooting stars to the earth.  It is thought that one of Michael’s special tasks is to infuse humanity with the power to recognize the reality of the spiritual, so that gradually, human beings will come to experience the spirit and allow it to become an effective working force in human deeds.

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Harvest Faire

The fall Harvest Faire is a one-day event which brings the school community and community-at-large together to celebrate the bounty of the harvest.  The Faire encompasses activities, demonstrations for children and adults, a food tent, music and entertainment. 

For more information on this year's event, please visit the Harvest Faire page .

Halloween (All Hallows Eve) - October 31

This is one of the most beloved of festivals for children in the United States and Britain and originated as the Celtic festival of Samhain which celebrated the first day of winter on November 1st.  Carving pumpkins or turnips is often an activity around the school at this time.  The Kindergartens have special activities to celebrate this festival within the classroom.

This holiday is celebrated at Shepherd Valley with our Halloween Journey. For more information on this year's event, please visit the Halloween Journey page.

Originally known as Hallowmass, this is a day to honor and remember the dead, particularly the saintly.

All Souls’ Day - November 2

It was long believed that on the Day of All Souls, the unhappy souls of the dead would return to their former homes.  On the eve of All Souls it was customary to keep kitchens warm and leave food on the table overnight for the visiting spirits.  The Anthroposophical Community in Boulder generally has an evening of candle lighting, music and Eurythmy to remember those who have crossed the threshold. 

Martinmas/Lantern Walk - November 11

St. Martin of Tours was born in 316 and died on November 11th, 397.  He is known as a deeply religious man who shared his cloak with a beggar and represents the attitude of brotherliness.  According to old customs at this time, as the days become shorter and the stars appear earlier, children would walk with lanterns through the streets singing.  As the world grows darker, the inner light of man wants to shine forth.   Kindergarten children, younger grade children and parents participate in a Lantern Walk carrying handmade lanterns as they journey across
our campus. Often times, St. Martin appears and provides his cloak to a lonely beggar along the way.

Thanksgiving – Fourth Thursday in November

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, reverence and wonder.  As a harvest festival, we can call to mind all the forces of heaven and earth that have provided us with food, clothing and sustenance.  We can remember and thank all who have supported us.