I can’t believe I didn’t post about May Day last year! My beautiful niece (that’s the simplest title) danced in her school’s May Day celebration with her eighth-grade classmates. My little son played a part with his fellow first graders in our school’s May Day celebration, too. I must have been really busy this time last year—or overwhelmed—to have missed saying how proud I am of these young people and how truly enchanted I feel by this festival so cherished by Waldorf schools.
Well, as we head into this year’s May Day celebration, and my beloved older son’s Beltane birthday, I will conjure all the beauty of this celebration with photos from last year, 2014. Indulge me.
This is my sweet T, who is the most delightfully sweet force of nature. She is wicked smart, and funny, and charming, and kind, and diabolical, and beautiful, and compassionate, and bossy, and a born leader, and I love her deeply.
And I was bursting with pride at this moment.
These are shots from Golden Valley Charter School’s May Faire, May 2014. The whole school community came out on a gorgeous morning to celebrate. All the classes wore white. They have a lovely May Queen every year in their celebration. Their graduating eighth graders dance the May Pole. It is every bit as charming in 2014 as it was in 1814. You can look up vintage May dance photos to see for yourself.
The May-Pole (Excerpt)
The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup,
I’ll drink to the garlands around it;
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown’d it.
And there’s just nothing in the world like a boy you love festooned in flowers!
Let us take our baskets early
To the meadows green,
While the wild-flowers still are pearly
With the dewdrops’ sheen.
Fill them full of blossoms rosy,
Violets and gay
Cowslips, every pretty posy
Welcoming the May.
Then our lovely loads we’ll carry
Down the village street,
On each door, with laughter merry,
Hang a basket sweet.
Hey-a-day-day! It is spring now,
Lazy folks, awake!
See the pretty things we bring now
For the May-day’s sake!
At Sacramento Waldorf School, where my children go, the first graders shower the dancers with rose petals as they enter and exit, and decorate the field with petals.
(Poor kid! I made his crown too big.)
I have written about this special festival before. I shared our experiences of celebrating May Day in the Waldorf kindergarten, too. That this festival comes every year doesn’t seem to diminish its beauty or freshness. That must be because these shining faces are growing and changing each year. Each year a new crop of lovely eighth graders take up their ribbons and dance their hearts out. It’s a bit of an endurance event; they work to weave and wrap the pole and an intricate, well-practiced way, practically down to the ground.
The little ones adore the rose petal “fight” at the end. This part isn’t scripted, but they all do it every year, with gusto and giggles aplenty. Such joy and silliness! The petals fly and the the parents wildly snap photos.
Lucas is absent from these shots from last year, though he was there. The sixth grade doesn’t have a special roll to play in the May Day festival, so he could just hang out with his friends and watch. This year, however, his seventh-grade class will be playing the music for the dancers. I’m really looking forward to that!
Blessings on your Beltane!