A birthday celebration day is a day when each child can expect to be celebrated.
Waldorf education is based on the concept that besides the earthly plane there is another, spiritual plane, where a spiritual part of the human being resides before connecting with our earthly bodies.
This process is described in fairy tales, many of which indicate that we are all on a quest to become the ‘king’ of our own kingdom (our physical body). We wish to rule our own ‘kingdom’ (our physical body) with wisdom and preside over a healthy and peaceful ‘kingdom’ ever after.
Each birthday is a milestone on the path of this quest and an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments we have made so far on our path of life.
There are three essential ingredients of a birthday celebration in a Waldorf early childhood classroom.
A Cake to Share
The cake is a symbol of wholeness and represents the totality of life. It is the gathering of Mother Earth’s gifts, bound together by human will. They are transformed by the heat of Father Sun into a delicious food that can nourish and sustain us to be shared with the child’s community (after the birthday child makes the first cut and receives the first piece of cake, of course!).
A Candle to Light the Way
The flame of the candle is a special magic link between the two worlds -earthly and divine. The lit candles have the power to grant a wish – the wish is made silently, and after the candles are blown out by the birthday child the wish silently rises to higher worlds on the smoke from the candles.
The Company of Good Friends and Their Blessings
The love of family and friends is like a warm garment for the child’s soul traveling on the path of life. The warm interest in the birthday child shown by the family and friends at the birthday celebration is like sunshine shining on a growing plant, bestowing inner strength and vitality.
At the Waldorf School of Philadelphia we celebrate and honor each child’s birthday. Children with summer birthday’s are honored on their half-birthdays. Parents are invited to each child’s birthday celebration and share in the storytelling about each child’s journey, from birth to present day.
We are grateful to our Waldorf teachers, parents, grandparents, and caregivers for inspiring us with your wisdom and love on these very special birthday celebrations.