Students, faculty, and parents at the Waldorf School of Garden City took part in the school’s annual Michaelmas Pageant today. The celebration aims to celebrate what is truly human, our process of self-development. Michaelmas is a celebration of St. Michael, who according to fifth century tradition, tames a dragon to save the kingdom. The pageant depicts the battle between St. Michael (played by a 12th grader) and the dragon (played by our 6th graders). Sent to rid the dreadful dragon who is the cause of the maiden’s sorrow for laying waste to the land of her parents, the king and the queen, St. Michael (along with the help of our 2nd graders) tames the dragon and goes forth to wed the maiden (played by another 12th grade student). Students celebrated the occasion with festive songs, stories, and verses containing themes of courage, inner strength, and deeds of goodness.
“Because the celebration falls near the equinox, it is often associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days,” said Ms. Sabine Kully, the school’s Faculty Chair. “Like all Waldorf schools around the country and around the world, our school celebrates this festival to show the transformation of evil into good through intelligence, courage, and strength. The metaphor appears in the mythology of many cultures. Ancient Indian writing describes Indra. The Bhagavad-Gita speaks of Mithra. The ancient Babylonians tell of Marduk who slew Tiamat the dragon. For our students, the Michaelmas festival is an opportunity to look ahead to the future – celebrating and encouraging human transformation as we strive toward our full human potential.”
This year after the dramatic pageant between the royal family, rescuers, and dragon, students in grades 1-12 combined into small groups for a variety of artistic activities such as tissue paper window designs, kite making, origami, chalk drawings, sand dragons, and candle decorating. “Through the artistic process,” said Ms. Kully, “we aim to work together to transform the “dragon” within us and nourish our community with beauty, creativity, and self-expression.”