“I am confident that the education they have received will make them individuals who can and will take the time to think for themselves and inspire and lead others.”
“Here’s a branch of snowy May, a branch the faeries gave me, would you like you dance today with a branch the faeries gave me?”
The White Mountain Waldorf School celebrates many festivals throughout the year, each full of meaning and symbolism, connecting us to Mother Nature and to a path of personal and collective growth. In May we joyously celebrate the return of the sun to our Northern climate with a public fair full of dancing, crafts, games, and music. Through the festival of May Fair we have the opportunity to reconnect with our community and rejoice at the coming growing season, warmth, and sunshine.
The May Faire begins when the children dance in a circle around the maypole, streaming ribbons of all colors in their hands, tickling the earth with their footsteps. Finally the older children weave the ribbons in a rainbow of colors, symbolizing renewing our connections to each other, weaving a stronger, healthier community. After the children dance the Maypole, the 5th and 6th grade demonstrate the graceful sword dance, moving in harmony and unity as a class. After the dancing we share in a meal, play games, create nature based crafts, and play to the sounds of live music.
Springtime brings with it an opening of the heart, a move from the introverted conditions of winter to reconnection with friends and neighbors we have lost touch with through the cold months. We come together with the feeling of new beginnings in our hearts and call on Mother Nature to awaken again. Together the young children’s voices rise up as they dance, calling to Mother Nature, “Wake up! Wake up!” We are tired of the snow and frozen ground, we are ready to dig, to plant, and to dance on the soft Earth.
The May Faire has its roots in pre-Christian Europe in agrarian societies who depended completely on the success of their crops. The Maypole dance and the Sword Dance have been performed for centuries at May festivals in Europe, and the knowledge of these dances has passed down and is maintained in part by the annual celebrations of Waldorf schools all over the world, allowing our children to participate in these ancient practices. People from long ago gathered for the same purposes we gather this month and enjoyed similar rituals of awakening the Earth. May Faire offers us a connection to the natural rhythms ancient people lived with. Often in these busy modern times our daily lives take us away from simple connection to nature, the gentle change of seasons, and to the cycles of Mother Earth. The May Faire is one way to ground ourselves in the natural world for awhile and revel in the beauty we are lucky to be surrounded by in the Mount Washington Valley.
My family and I love May Faire for the joy of watching our children dance, for the lazy afternoon chatting with old friends in the sunshine, for the shouts of joy at being outside coming from children all around us, and for the sense of renewed commitment to our community. This year we hope to meet many new friends at the May Faire. We hope you and your loved ones will join us this May Faire and connect with Mother Nature, with the returning light, and with your friends and neighbors.