Celebrating the seasons through festivals is a prominent part of the Alpenglow School year. Festivals enrich school and family life and help establish a comfortable annual rhythm. The goal of the festivals is to kindle the child’s appreciation of the rhythm of the seasons, the passage of time, and build a sense of community. They mark the cycles of our natural world and strive to develop a sense that there is something bigger then ourselves.
“The original idea of any sacred festival is to make the human being look upward from his dependence on earthly things to those things that transcend the Earth”. – Rudolf Steiner
Festivals and Celebrations at Alpenglow School include:
Rose Ceremony (September / June)
The Rose ceremony, a gathering which happens twice a year, has occurred since the very first Waldorf School in 1919. The Rose Ceremony occurs on the first day of school where the Grade-six students offer a rose to the Grade-one students as a way to symbolize their transition from kindergarten to grade school and into the elementary community. Students then pass the rose to their parents, who as a loving exchange give a potted plant to care for at school. The exchange of the plant symbolizes the transition from home life to school life, where they will be nourished in a new way.
The second ceremony is held at the end of the school year where the Grade-one students give the graduating students a rose or flower to wish them well as they conclude their time at Alpenglow and set off to begin their new adventures / schooling.
Martinmas / Lantern Festival (November)
St. Martin was a roman soldier who shared his warm cloak with a poor man. The focus of this festival is about “being of service” in the spirit of St. Martin. Lanterns are carried as a symbol of the light we can shine into the dark world. Our festival consists of a children’s play, put on by the grade-two class acting out the story of St. Martin. This is followed by an outdoor lantern walk and a bonfire where we enjoy a warm drink of hot apple cider. As an act of giving in the spirit of St. Martin, families are encouraged to bring a food donation for the local food bank.
Winterfest is an old fashion winter festival that celebrates the wonder of winter and childhood. It is a celebration of the beauty of the season. This event is open to the whole community. We invite you to immerse yourself in the magical spirit of winter as Alpenglow transforms into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and charm. Winterfest is a one-of-a-kind event in the Bow Valley where every room, nook and cranny is transformed by the spirit of holiday magic into a place of childhood wonder. Spend the day with your family making a wish inside the "Wishing Well" or choosing a treat inside the "Cookie Cave". Enjoy a puppet story inside our "Story Telling Meadow" or snuggle in and enjoy our mouth-watering soups at our "Soup Bar". Shop at any of the Artisan Vendors for gifts handcrafted with love and care. A simple, beautiful, wholesome day to set the tone for the whole season.
Solstice Spiral (December)
This outdoor event takes place on December 21 during Winter Solstice. It is a celebration of the shortest day and longest night of the year where we find joy in celebrating the return of light. Each family walks through a spiral of fresh evergreen boughs to light their candle off of the central candle, which in turn symbolizes light in the darkest days of Winter. On return, the candle is then placed in an apple along the spiral path brightening the path for those to follow. As the number of candles grow, so does the beauty and magic, celebrating the light within.
Candlemas is a time of new beginnings. On February 2nd, Candlemas Day marks the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. It is a time to recognize that winter is on its way out, the light is beginning to return, and spring is on its way in. In many traditions, it is considered the beginning of spring. In Western Europe, it is a time for preparing the fields for the first planting. Closer to home, it is a time where hibernating animals come out to see if winter remains or if there will be an early Spring. Thus, if the sun cast a shadow on Candlemas Day, more winter was on the way; if no shadow winter is thought to be ending soon.
At Alpenglow school, we celebrate by telling stories, singing songs, and dipping candles. Read the full Candlemas story here.
Alpenglow’s second largest community building event celebrates Spring. This event is open to the whole community. The Grade-three students perform a traditional Maypole dance dressed in their nice-whites and with a single blossom in a buttonhole or hair. The Enchanted Forest comes to life with children crafts and activities and a delicious BBQ is available for the whole family. A simple, beautiful, wholesome afternoon, Springfest provides an opportunity for festivity and a reminder that warmer days are ahead.
Family Gatherings and assemblies (September / June)
At Alpenglow, we share a school wide gatherings / potlucks at the beginning of the year to welcome new and returning families. At year end, another gathering / potluck occurs to reflect on the past school year and as a send-off to summer.
The students of Alpenglow further share class performances at their annual Christmas concert. The concert provides an opportunity for students to express through music, song or performance what they have been working on throughout the school year.
The Birthday ceremony is an important event at school and for the children. With respect and reverence, the class honours children’s birthdays. In kindergarten, parents are invited to join in on the ceremony. In the grades, children celebrate birthdays amongst their classmates and teachers.
Parents are asked to decorate a candle for their child during Alpenglow’s Parent Information Night at the start of September. The decorated candles are given to the children during their birthday celebration.