The Harvest Time-Michaelmas Day 2017

The whole school enjoyed the Michaelmas Harvest Festival and the day was full of activity and joy. We were invited by our friends at the Hatch Community to go over to their fields to harvest some vegetables – some picked to create a Harvest altar in Thorn Hall and the rest went into very large pots for our chefs to use to make soup for the Harvest meal. We enjoyed singing many Michaelmas songs led by Dean and especially his own composition ‘The Harvest Time’ which is by now a school favourite!  The soups were delicious! We had such a lovely celebration and are very grateful to everyone who was involved in creating this special event. Thank you!!!

Michaelmas is an important festival in Sheiling and all Waldorf schools which celebrate it as the “festival of strong will” during the autumnal equinox.

Traditionally we have have performed plays about the story of St. Michael and his slaying of the dragon. In some of these plays, St Michael is often seen being knocked to the ground and momentarily stunned by a dragon, usually played by several students in a long dragon costume. Of course, St. Michael bounces right back up and conquers the dragon.

The key element of the Michaelmas festival is that it celebrates inner strength and courage.

Some of our pupils created a fantastic dragon this year which you will see in the photos below………

Before you view the photos here is a short Michaelmas Story to enjoy:

How the Harvest Loaf Came To Be

Once there was a fair and beautiful land. It was difficult to say whether the hills were fairer than the valley, or whether the plains were more beautiful than the forests, but the people who lived there were happy and busy and their faces shone as they worked so that the whole land glowed with a bright light.

But the time came when darkness fell upon this land, for through its valleys writhed a mighty dragon, foaming and lashing his tail. It was not long before he had laid everything to waste and disappeared to his cave, leaving the country barren and frozen hard with ice.

All the people living there were frozen too, and they were unable to work or do anything at all.

Now the Archangel Michael looked down from the heavens to this sad and frozen land, and his heart was full of compassion for its people. He stretched forth his right hand, plucked a handful of stars from the firmament and flung them down to the earth.

With his left hand he gathered sungold from the sky and sent that too, on a journey to earth.

When the stars reached the earth they became lumps of black iron, and entered deep into the ground. When the sungold reached the earth the ice was melted and men once more felt the blood warming their hands and feet. Then the people began to work.

The farmers took out their ploughs and ploughed the barren land and sowed it with seeds. The iron in the earth gave strength to the crop as it grew, and soon the grain was ripened on tall, straight stems. When autumn time came, the Archangel Michael bent near to the earth and spoke to the farmers. “Harvest the good grain,” he commanded them, “grind it into flour. Mix a dough and knead it well. Bake it in the oven until it is done. Place the loaf in the centre of your table and share it with your family and friends. For this will be the Harvest Loaf: each slice that is cut in friendship will warm your hearts, and each slice that is eaten will give strength and power to overcome the dragon.”

This the farmers did, and when the Harvest Loaf was placed on the table they sat with their families and friends and sang this song:

“Earth who gives to us this food

Sun and stars who made it good

Dearest Earth and Stars and Sun

We will remember what you done.”