The Season of Light
In the Berkshires, when the earth falls quiet under winter snows, we look forward to the sun’s return and lengthening days, and look inward to reflect on the passing year.
Do you remember the first weeks of school, when we welcomed Autumn as the Season of Courage? Stories, songs and plays about courage strengthened us all the way through those first brave months we were back together. Now we carry that strength into the Season of Light, ushered in with the lantern walk for early childhood and first and second grade students.
The Longest Night
BWS celebrates the Season of Light around Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Joining many cultures in a spirit of joyful anticipation, we bring light and warmth into the darkness with candles, holiday lights and observance of the moon and stars. As a community, we take comfort in the light of family, food and traditions of giving.
Lighting the Darkness
BWS kindergartners participate in the Spiral of Light, which brings a mood of quiet reverence to the season. Each child walks a spiral path made of evergreen boughs strewn with minerals and crystals. As they reach the center, children light their “apple candle” at the central candle, and place it along the path home, to light the way for others.
Elementary and middle school students mark the Season of Light with age-appropriate festivals and rituals that come out of the content from each grade. These speak to children with soul-satisfying comfort and peace. Adjusting for social distancing, our celebrations will look a little different this year. Yet they are more important than ever. Practicing warmth and joy at a dark time centers us all in strength and hope.
Although safety restrictions prevent our annual celebration with BWS families, students will honor festivals of light in their classes. On December 18, the last day before break, grade school students will gather for a holiday assembly. (Students are able to socially distance in the natural amphitheater on the sledding hill.) We’ll share a video record with parents afterward, as a holiday greeting to enjoy and share.
A Sense of Wonder
Third grade knitting together around the fire, and a kindergartner’s delight at “glitter covering everything” in the recent snow, remind us how fortunate we are to be surrounded by nature. In a dark time, look up! The Season of Light offers more time to enjoy a sky full of stars. How delightful to learn with sixth grade that this year on December 21—coincidentally, the Winter Solstice—Jupiter and Saturn will align in a Great Conjunction. Together they will create a very bright “star” on the southwestern horizon just after sundown, a celestial event that hasn’t happened in 800 years!
Berkshire Waldorf School faculty and staff wish your family a beautiful holiday season, and memories that bring renewed warmth and light throughout the years.