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Why do Waldorf Schools Celebrate the Festival of Courage?

Why do Waldorf Schools Celebrate the Festival of Courage?

Watercolor Dragon, Waldorf Festival Courage

This September, Waldorf students throughout the world will breathe a fiery collective outbreath and come together with their communities in celebration of the powerful themes of strength, courage and bravery. At the Waldorf School of Baltimore, we too will take up this task, though as you may expect, it will look a little different than it has in years past.

Each Autumn, we study the story of Michael and the Dragon and work in our classrooms creating a school-wide (grades two through eight) performance. First grade views this play for the first time as audience members. After weeks of preparation students, dressed in fiery red, will partake in a Festival of Courage, performed in the round, and featuring a traditional Michael and the Dragon pageant and engaging in afternoon activities fostering courage and community.

But Why?


The story of Michael and the Dragon challenges students and teachers alike to develop strength and bravery, while coming together as a community, to overcome the sources of our fear and anxiety. We imagine our small village, threatened by a fierce dragon who voraciously eats all the food, demands more, and cannot be stopped by the warriors who bravely fight and continues its gluttony and bullying. The village learns to tame the dragon through the guidance of a brave youth Una who encourages the whole village to call on the powers of Michael to strengthen them in order to quell the dragon peacefully. A triumphant feat indeed!


One of two times a year that night and day are of equal length, the Fall Equinox is marked in countless cultures worldwide. In Fall, as the life forces of nature recede, turning toward a winter sleep, the inner life of the human soul is awakening. Each day after the equinox, we will experience more and more darkness until at last we reach the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. This is a time of conscious selfhood, of courage, and a time when we celebrate the building and strengthening of our inner life.

Would you like to learn more about the Waldorf School of Baltimore, it's Festivals and Community life? Email our Admission director Ilene Wise at, today.

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