The celebration of festivals has been an integral component of the Taos Waldorf School community since its founding in 1994. The festivals are times when students, teachers and families come together to experience how the yearly cycle of the seasons create a rhythm that resonates in nature and within us, that nourishes us. The festivals are joyful events when we as individuals and as a school community gather to reconnect with each other to experience the meaningfulness of nature’s cycles. Teachers work with their students throughout the year to integrate seasonal themes which will then culminate in the shared festival celebrations. There are additional special festivals and recitals throughout the year as well, some of which are described here.
Harvest Festival: We begin school right before autumn, when nature begins to focus her energies inwards. Our Harvest Festival happens in late September or early October as we gratefully reap the last of summer’s bounty and we begin to make preparations for a colder, darker season to come. There is a joyful, celebratory aspect to this festival as the children have created the setting during the school day by setting up a communal eating area under our willow tree. They have prepared all day by pressing fresh cider, baking bread in our traditional horno oven, and simmered a vegetable soup over an open fire with ingredients brought by all children. The celebration continues into the evening as parents join us for an all community pot-luck with live music and dancing.
Advent Spiral — Our Advent Spiral Festival occurs near the winter solstice, the coldest, darkest time of the year. This is a season when we must journey within to find inner light, inspiration, and hope. The back field is transformed through creating a beautiful spiral made from evergreen branches. The center of the spiral is lit by a candle. Each participant walks the spiral to its center, lights his/her candle and places it somewhere on the spiral as they exit. What begins as a dark field ends as a bright, spiral filled with the light and warmth that each one of us brings to the event: reminding us that in our darkest moments that light will once again return.
Winter Recital — This is a festive evening of presentations by each class in the school. Class presentations may include choral speech, recorder ensembles, singing, and orchestral performances showcasing what our children have learned during the school year. Often, the entire school, first through eighth grade, performs a musical piece for the assembled parent community. This is a delightful experience that highlights the joy of learning that is alive at the Taos Waldorf School.