The Returning Light

Steve always gets a chuckle when I declare that a Waldorf festival is upcoming, especially if it ends in -mas (Martinmas! Michaelmas! And now, Candlemas!). I'm lucky he's such a good sport. We're still just exploring it all; trying to see what fits with our family and which elements that we want to embrace. 

The beginning of February is a time of celebration in many cultures, marking the halfway point through winter and signaling a shift in focus to looking forward to spring. Silas and I spent much of last week talking about Groundhog Day (including A Garden for a Groundhog and Groundhog Day! as our Circle Time books) and pretending to be groundhogs that are waking up from our long winter naps in our dens. I love the idea of celebrating the practice of looking to animals and nature for signs about what lies ahead. But honestly? The name "Groundhog Day" feels so uninspired to me. There are parts of the Candlemas celebration that really speak to me - the lighting of candles, the flowers, the food - but it's so specifically religious. Brigid's Day/Imbolc is really beautiful. Celebrating the goddess of midwifery, the hearth, and transformation? Yes, please. But, we're still working on pulling it all together.

For this year, we rolled and decorated beeswax candles, a first for us. Silas loved it. He helped me set the beeswax sheets in the sunshine to soften and then carefully rolled them around the wick. We had a bit of green wax left and I asked him if he wanted to decorate one of our candles. He very matter-of-factly said that it should be a tree. And so I started cutting out leaves.

We burned one with our dinner (French Onion Soup - incredibly time consuming with a three hour prep, but so worth it and fitting for a festival day) and had a bit of Devil's Food Cake for dessert. It was wonderful, if only because we spent the day, the three of us, together celebrating the returning light. 


  1. I've always wanted to make candles with my boys. I think they would love it. It looks like Silas did too. We don't celebrate festivals here, but we do keep our eyes very closely on the change of seasons. The good thing about moving around a bit is that the wonder of it is just as fresh for me as it is for the kids. Here in Houston, we are wavering between winter and spring (what some might call summer) and the birds are starting to sing mornings a little more everyday.

  2. Its nice that you found a natural way to celebrate Groundhog's Day. I just saw a video of the real thing (I used it in my blog post for today) and it was really pretty bizarre.

  3. We do celebrate Groundhog's Day (don't laugh, DH is a meteorologist from PA.) We usually get up and watch the "proclamation" and make groundhog shaped cookies. A couple good books, if you are looking for some variety, are Gregory's Shadow by Don Freeman (author of Corduroy) and Wake up, Groundhog! by Susanna Leonard Hill (about Phyllis Groundhog who wants to become Punxsutawney Phil.) Did you know that "Phil" and family actually live in the children's section of the local library? You can visit them year round. (And yes, DH and I have gone. Really.)
    I, on the other hand, would really like to incorporate more Candlemas, maybe next year :)

  4. I used to make beewax candles like that as gifts! I don't know why i stopped doing that.... Xmas time for sure this year will be a fun project to do with Dante, at that time he will be old enough to help roll it.