Festivals & Celebrations
Seasonal festivals and celebrations occur throughout the year and play a very important part in the curriculum. The larger rhythms of the seasons are marked by the preparation and celebration of the great festivals of the year which weave into one another as the seasons are related and intertwined. Here the experience of the quality of each season is deepened and celebrated.
In our own inner preparation for the festival, we ponder the qualities of each season to be celebrated:
- gratitude at harvest time;
- the courage, strength, and perseverance of Michaelmas;
- the quiet hope and anticipation of Advent;
- the love and light of Christmas and Hanukkah;
- the transformation, miracle, and rebirth of Easter, Passover, and Springtime;
- the gaiety and celebration of nature at May Day.
These qualities are expressed in the celebration itself through the power of pictures, songs, stories, drama, and ritual, thus providing nourishment for body, soul, and spirit.
Examples of festivals and celebrations through the course of the year include: Michaelmas, Halloween, Martinmas Lantern Walk, Holiday Faire, Thanksgiving, Spiral Garden, Santa Lucia Day, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Festival of May.
Mangrove School of Sarasota Seasonal Festivals
Our seasonal holidays and festivals reflect universal life-affirming events that we, as humans, have celebrated throughout history. The real beauty of our festivals is that they provide the unique opportunity for individuals of different religions to unite in celebration of common beliefs, encouraging awareness and respect for one another in a shared world. Celebrations throughout the year inspire community spirit, reverence and joy, reflecting ancient traditions with modern application.
The Autumn Festival of Michaelmas celebrates our ability to conquer the powers of darkness by overcoming our fears and developing a strong and brave free will. Through great symbolism, children are taught to stand for what is good and true, overcome obstacles and have courage for their tasks.
The deep origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. While October 31st marks the end of Summer, the Harvest and beginning of the dark, cold, Winter, Samhain foretold the coming of the Celtic New Year on November 1st. On the night of Samhain, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth and the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became interpenetrated. We use the symbolic and interpretative festival of Halloween to teach rich and magical stories about this holiday through a celebratory experience enchanting to children of all ages.
Spiral Garden has become the symbol for light returning and a tradition for nursery through the primary grades in our community. The Spiral Garden is a journey inward toward awareness of the eternal light within each of us and all humanity. Celebrated at the advent of the Winter season with tropical greens and candlelight, the Spiral Garden honors spiritual rituals from around the world that also reflect the rich diversity of our community.
Festival of May is resplendent with flowers, wreath-making and Maypole dancing to celebrate the coming of summer. Parents and children share in the creation of wreaths, song, and dance, followed by a picnic incorporating local, organic and seasonal harvest.
Assemblies are held before Thanksgiving, Winter and Summer Breaks. These unique performances provide a wonderful opportunity for parents to share in their child’s development, for students to develop confidence and pride in their accomplishments, and for each student to recollect their younger years, as s/he anticipates journeys to come.