Advent Spiral is a very important Waldorf tradition. The word Advent means «To Come” and aside from this term used in some religious celebrations, it is meant to announce the coming of the light and striving to come to your center during this
very busy holiday time.
Many cultures and religions have celebrations at this December time of year: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Druid Solstice ceremonies to name a few. For the Advent Spiral children come into a darkened room filled with a spiral of evergreens on the floor. Teachers carefully prepare this spiral of living greens. The evergreens make a path for children to walk in a spiral to the center. The evergreen spiral is dotted with crystals, flowering plants, and other treasures. In the center of the spiral is a candle. Into the dark room comes one child and their parent carrying a taper candle inside of an apple. Often this child is dressed in white like an angel.
Walking slowly around the spiral to show the watching children how to do it slowly and mindfully, the «angel» then lights the candle waiting at the center of the spiral.
Then, one by one each child and parent goes to the start of the spiral, receives from a teacher an apple with a candle inserted into a carved hole in the apple. The child walks the spiral with the unlit candle, goes to the center and lights the candle on the
central candle. Once the candle is lit, the child & parent walks carefully back through the spiral and finds a place on the spiral to set the apple with the now-lit candle down. Then the next child comes and does the same thing. Each child has a turn until all the children have had the chance to light a candle and place it on the spiral. Music plays and fills the room while the children walk the garden and light their candles one by one.
By the end of the ceremony, the spiral is bright with light, illuminated with all the children’s candles. This offers the children a powerful picture of light in the darkness, of one’s candle contributing to the great light with others in the dark world, of the coming of light from each of us. Waiting quietly in the darkness for the return of the light, contributing a little bit from each person to make the world bright, are important lessons to learn for life.
In our busy world it is not often that any of us can experience true peace, reverent quiet and inner joy. The Advent Spiral celebration is an outward expression of our individual selves gifting and sharing a small part of us to make the world brighter.