‘Michaelmas’ is celebrated in Steiner schools around the world where it is thought of as the “festival of strong will” during the autumnal equinox, a time of equal day and night. The story of Archangel Michael is a traditional beginning to our day of celebration. After listening to a story of courage the children then embark on their own journey of challenges as they take part in the activities of the day. The ‘Michaelmas’ or Autumn festival is a time to teach children the importance of using their courage and facing challenges. This is preparation for the colder, darker winter months ahead. Through our own efforts we discover new internal resources which help us to grow toward life and light. The children put their faith in their classmates and families as they fall backwards during the Trust Fall. Here a group of volunteers work together to provide a safe net of arms to break the fall as each student takes a turn falling.
Each year a beautifully constructed Rope Bridge is put in place over a dry river bed. For younger students especially it is a long drop below. But for the taller students balancing on this wobbly bridge is a bigger challenge. The feeling of relief and achievement on reaching the other side is a wonderful reward for meeting this challenge. The first time my children walked this bridge they glowed with satisfaction for days afterwards and each year it is the highlight of the festival for them and many of their friends.
Taking part in the Blindfold Walk once more tests our trust in others and results in much hilarity.
Trying to take a bite of an apple tied to a wobbly string with your hands tied behind your back can be a frustrating experience. Now imagine doing that with no front teeth.
After all this excitement the children unwind with some relaxing leaf rubbing enjoying the beautiful patterns that are created from different leaves. The children delight in the simplicity of this activity.