Advent, from the Latin “to come,” is the period including the four Sundays before Christmas. In Christian churches, one candle is lit each Sunday until the lights of four candles herald the birth of Christ. Yet Advent, and even the feast day we now celebrate as Christmas, has a far wider traditional context. Throughout Europe, northern Asia, and in ancient Egypt, this holiday has had festival connotations of light and the sun—of the time when winter draws to its close and spring begins. The Jewish festival of light, Hanukkah, falls very near to Christmas.
At Richmond Waldorf School, children are invited to participate in a very special Advent celebration. Each child walks through a spiral of fresh pine boughs to light his or her candle from the large center candle. This represents light in the darkest days of winter. As he or she returns through the spiral, the child chooses a place along the path to set the candle. As the number of candles grows, so does the beauty and magic of the experience.
This year the spiral is for the students only. Parents will be unable to participate due to COVID-19 limitations.