Although we weren't able to celebrate our Winter Garden in the same ways as years past, we created a new way to walk the spiral outdoors and it was as beautiful as ever.
This year has forced us to really get creative in how we are celebrating festivals. While we are separate, and still together, we were able to have a very beautiful Winter Garden with some of our classes this year.
The Winter Garden is celebrated each December as we approach the Winter Solstice, the darkest time of the year. Many traditions celebrate with festivals that bring light into darkness including ours. Lighting the Advent, Chanukah or Kwanzaa candles, and decorating the Christmas tree all remind us of a miracle of light. Be it a lamp that stayed lit for eight days, the return of the sun, or the birth of the Christmas child, at Waldorf Schools worldwide we celebrate this time of year by walking the spiral pathway in the Winter Garden.
Traditionally, the spiral pathway is set up indoors in a dark room to symbolize the darkness of the winter days. The Winter Garden is lit by only one candle at the center of a spiral of green boughs. After hearing a seasonal story, each child walks the spiral to its center carrying an unlit candle. In the center an eighth grader helps each child light his or her candle. Then the child retraces the path, placing the candle along the spiral, amid the boughs. Hidden amongst the greenery are treasures of nature, crystals, stones, stars, and seashells; as the candlelight grows even stronger, these gifts of the earth begin to sparkle in the darkness.
Because of this year's constraints due to the pandemic, we were able to recreate this tradition under our gazebo with flowers and candles. Each class was able to walk the spiral and place a flower within the spiral while feeling wonder, peace, and joy. As always, we observed a quiet mood in order to take in this wonderful experience for the senses.
To see all of the photos from our Winter Garden spiral walk this year, visit our Facebook album.