On Monday, The Denver Waldorf School will step into a renewed vision of its festival life: The Festival of Courage! After a few years of faculty studies on local geography, culture, and archetypes of seasons and spiritual impulses, we are moving forward in our festival life to reimagine it in a more local context, connecting our students to the geography and community that surround our school. Our first major festival of the year is historically known as Michaelmas, which we also refer to as The Festival of Courage. Michaelmas is a traditional Waldorf festival that is celebrated as the summer warmth and light dwindle, bringing challenges of the darker season ahead. It is about facing these challenges and fears in our lives, and finding our own strength and courage to overcome them. This year, Education Director Vernon Dewey has written a script of a new pageant to celebrate this festival, which embraces the underlying meaning of Michaelmas, but also incorporates new imagery to reflect our local time and place.

The students and staff will act out a story of light overcoming darkness and virtue triumphing over vice. The story is set in a land similar to our own, featuring some local phenomena: a meteor, an elk, a grove of golden aspens. In the story each nation (played by each class 1-12) finds itself put under the spell of a mysterious mist that turns their virtues into vices: initiative becomes cynicism, confidence becomes doubt, courage becomes cowardice, love becomes hate. One young woman, Sophia, is able to rise above it, find inspiration, and help lead the people toward their higher selves through acts of service. Each grade will be assigned a service project to complete in order to resolve the conflict in the story. After our service work is done, we will come back together to share our deeds, whereby light will chase out the mist and light will live on again in our hearts.

You can also listen to our podcast episode to hear more about the impetus behind our reimagined festival life on Spotify here.