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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Michaelmas

Felt dragon we brought to school for the classroom
Today is Michaelmas. This is the day of celebrating of St. Michael and to celebrate the harvest, change of seasons, etc. It is the first year we are celebrating. Last week I knew nothing of the holiday, so this is all new for me. My first question of course was what is Michaelmas? I did some web research and came across a few good sites to help. In general terms wisegeek explains some of the history behind Michaelmas. We of course are looking at the Waldorf side of celebrating. For this I found some great blogs giving information, recipes, etc. to help with the celebration. The first blog is Lady I Swear By All Flowers. She gives details of her celebration (her first time) last year including the story of St. George defeating the dragon which she shortened to be one page. Our Little Nature Nest has a slightly longer version of the story/legend. She also offers a link to a similar story where a little girl slays the dragon, Li Chi Slays The Serpent. Needless to say we will be reading this version as well.

So what is Michaelmas and why am I celebrating it? Michaelmas is the day of celebrating St. Michael the archangel and St. George, St. Michael's earthly form. St. George came to earth and slayed the dragons to save the people. This is the legend in the United Kingdom. So Waldorf education celebrates this day to celebrate the harvest and the start of autumn as well as using the dragon stories as a way of celebrating courage, strength and fighting our own inner demons. What a strong message to send to children. I think it is always positive for children to see that we struggle with our own inner demons and can reflect on it, but also to show them that each one of them has strength and courage to fight them.

Bread before the oven
Bread after baking
From what I have learned on line, it seems a must for celebrating is dragon bread, or bread shaped like a dragon. I found a couple of recipes for this. The first doesn't seem to let the dough rise, so I'm a little suspicious. However, if you are in a rush that would seem like a good thing. The second comes from Our Little Nature Nest (which is one of my main resources today) and lets the dough rise 30 minutes--not a long time, but at least it rises. This is the recipe we are going to use. I used whole almonds for the spikes and almond slivers for the teeth. I found candied sunflower seeds for the eye and the wing.

Dinner tonight will be our main celebration. We are going to have Carrot-Tomato Soup from Soule Mama's blog. (I did find a recipe for dragon soup on Uncommon Grace, but I didn't think my family would actually eat it. However this entry is also a good reference for Michaelmas.) And of course our dragon bread will be served with the soup. Then for dessert I am going to make a Michaelmas Pie (scroll down for this recipe on the link).
Carrot Tomato Soup
Michaelmas Pie

Well, I enjoyed the soup, but no one else seemed to, but that is not a big surprise in my family. The bread was ok, but not great. Next year I will make a better more complex recipe.  We have not cut into the pie yet, but I cheated on that. I used a store bought pie crust and sprinkled cinnamon on it. I'll give you a report on it tomorrow.

Another view of the dragon
And of course I found some dragon crafts for us to try. The first thing I made was the felt dragon. I found the pattern and the instructions on Rhythm of the Home. I promised Hazel I would make her another one if she gave this one to the teachers.

Next we made toilet paper roll dragons. I found this at DLTK. It is of one of the dragons from PBS's Dragon Tales, so it is not too scary of a picture. Hazel had fun coloring and gluing. I did the cutting out. We forgot to glue the tail on mine. Oops!

The last dragon craft we did was a handprint dragon. Ok, really I just traced Hazel's handprint and had her pick out the colors. She was feeling off today, so I did this craft while she rested. I got these instructions from Activity Village. They have many dragon crafts on their site.
Handprint Dragon

Some other dragon crafts can be found on:
Babycenter has one with a 16 ounce cup
Family Fun has a dragon hat and a dragon kite
Activity Village has a sock puppet, Egg box dragon, Wooden Spoon and a You Tube video on making an origami dragon head and many coloring pages
And of course traditionally Waldorf classes focus on autumn crafts for Michaelmas, so you can see any of the days this week for ideas.

Finally I was told today that Michaelmas festivals are for four weeks. I have not found that supported on line, but thought it was interesting. Well enough of our celebration. Happy Michaelmas and Happy Autumn!!


3 comments:

  1. Happy Michaelmas! I love the handprint dragon!! We are enjoying our dragon bread tonight with a Potato Soup. Such a fun fall tradition! Your pie looks yummy as well :)

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  2. Oooh, I bet potato soup would be a bigger hit with my husband at least. Hazel hasn't really learned to eat soup well yet.

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