September 29, 2015

Michaelmas Festival at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor

from your RSSAA Librarians

On a beautiful autumn day last Friday, the entire RSSAA Community of students, faculty and staff, along with many families, gathered at the Lower School to celebrate Michaelmas (traditionally on 9/29) with a wonderful play by Grades 1-4 and singing by Grades 5-12 followed by family picnic lunches and kite flying. This year in 2015 we also commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor! 

Please enjoy these images and memories, along with additional resources below, about the Michaelmas Festival at our school...
Michaelmas at RSSAA is celebrated each year on the grounds of the Lower School.
With Joy we greet this Autumn Day!
Early Childhood classes baked a dragon bread, planted bulbs, and made shooting stars.
From the Lower School & High School, we all came together to join in the festivities.
Students in Grades 1-4 presented the Michaelmas Play, then older students in Grades 5-8 and High Schoolers sang Songs of Michaelmas.

First Grade Gnomes
Second Grade Comets
Third Grade Dragon
Fourth Grade St. Michael, Villagers, and Musicians
Ninth Grade stayed after the Play to help with Gardening.
HS Seniors drew a Chalk Dragon with First Graders on the Playground.
The Michaelmas Dragon Illuminated

The first Michaelmas Festival at the Lower School, almost 30 years ago, is fondly recalled by teacher Margarete Orlik-Walsh:

In September of 1986, Cynthia Wilson (current Grade 5 Class Teacher) and I felt strongly that we wanted to create a celebration for the first Michaelmas at our Newport Road building. We realized we had only two days to plan it; the season had sneaked up on us!

We went out to buy curtain material for a back drop in the gym. As it happened, I found many yards of just the perfect color blue on sale in the fabric store. The curtains were quickly put together and strung up on clothes lines, nothing fancy, to be sure. On Michaelmas Day, September 29, everyone gathered in the gym where songs and recitations were offered. 

Our school meteorite in its lovely glass case, beautiful art prints for Michaelmas, and big bouquets of Michaelmas daisies decorated a large table. A huge loaf of bread in the shape of a dragon and platters of grapes were also there for everyone to share.

This autumn day vividly lingers in my memory and has been an inspiration throughout the years.

[Frau Walsh currently teaches German as part of the World Languages Program at the RSSAA Lower School.]

If you'd like to learn more about Michaelmas and Saint Michael, you can browse a few books in our library collections (search: Michaelmas)

You can find music and audio for Michaelmas Songs and many other pieces sung in Waldorf Schools by searching online:  
(with Language set to "English"; choose Festival filter and check Michaelmas; then click "Search") at this website:
For more in-depth review, you can find articles in the Online Waldorf Library compiled by David Mitchell for the Waldorf Journal Project #15 on Michaelmas here with links copied below from

Waldorf Journal Project #15

Michaelmas (all articles in one large file)

Working with the Festivals Through the Twelve Senses by David Mitchell
The Deeds of Michael: A Collection of Tales and Legends from Around the World
Feast of St. Michael (from the Golden Legend); Michael Legends (from a speech by Pico Della Mirandola); Gothic Hymn unto the Archangel Michael (from the Greek); Michael (Greek Hymn from the Middle Ages);
Michael in the Ancient Orient
Michael as Indra (from the Rigveda); The Bhagadvad-Gita as a Reflection of Michael's Battle in Heaven; Michael as Mithra (from the Avesta); Mithras, Revealing the Sacred Names (from a Mithras Liturgy); Michael as Marduk
Michael According to the Conceptions of the Hebrew People
Creation of Adam; Michael as Guardian of the World; Michael Tests Moses' Willingness to Sacrifice; Michael, Savior of Isaac; Moses' Death; The Four Winds; The Rainbow; The Bowl of the World; The Book of the Seventy-Two Signs; Michael Guardian of Paradise
Michael and the Mystery of Golgotha
Golgotha (Russian Legend); Michael and the Risen One (from Rejentime Easter Play, 15th Century)
Michael According to Manichean Conceptions
Michael and the Evil (Ancient Bulgarian Legend); Michael and the Doubter (German Legend)
Legends Concerning Michael's Workings in Places Consecrated to Him
Michael's Sanctuary in Chonae (from the Greek); The Sanctuary of Michael on Mount Gargano (Latin Legend); Mont Saint-Michel (French Legend); Mont Saint-Michel (Chronicle of the City of Speyer)
Michael as Healer
The Leper Jew; The Unfulfilled Vow; The Blind Man; The Posessed
Worship of Michael from the Time of Charlemagne to the 10th Century
Sequence on St. Michael Dedicated to Emperor Charlemange (Latin Hymn from the Middle Ages); The Dragon of Ireland (French Legend)
Michael's Transition from Legend to the History of the Fading Middle Ages
Michael as Friend of Mankind (Icelandic Legend); Michael Leads the Army of Barbarossa (German Legend); To St. Michael (Latin Hymn, Middle Ages, 11th Century); How Henry II Beheld Michael on Monte Gargano and How He Was Touched and Lamed by Him (German ); Prayer (from Old Norway, circa 1300); The Death of Elizabeth of Thuringa (German Legend); Lucifer's Crown( from "Singers' Contest of Warburg, " 13th Century); The Vision of Jeanne d'Arc (Account of Jeanne d'Arc's Deposition); Michael, the Angel, Speaketh
Michael in the European East
St. Michael on the Crescent Moon (After a Polish Legend); Of Michael, the Archangel (from the Russian)
Michael According to the Conceptions of Simple Folk
Why the Sole of Man's Foot is not Even; Miner's Song (from Bohemia); The Devils Scythe (French Legend); What the Peasants of Normandy Tell about Michael
Michael's Cosmic Activity
The Twelfth Chapter of the Revelation of St. John; Concerning the Iron in the Kalewala and the Spiritual Forge in the North
Spanish Michael Legend
The Legend of Mont Saint-Michel
 (Guy de Maupassant)

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