In autumn St. Michael, with sword and with shield
Passes over meadow, through orchard and field.
He's on his way to battle with darkness and strife
He's the Heavenly Warrior, Protector of Life.
In honor of Michaelmas, we read The Devil's Scythe from Cristopherus' third grade curriculum, Room on the Broom, and Tomie da Paola's The Knight and the Dragon. We gathered beautiful leaves on our morning walk, and we packed up acorns to send to our friends in Alaska. We didn't bake dragon cookies or decorate candles. I did make us candles, but then couldn't get them out of the jars. The children were none-too-happy with me, so after they were in bed I posted my quandary on Facebook. I had greased the jars, but they narrowed the teensiest bit just above center, so.....my resourceful friends to the rescue. Dip them in hot water. I dipped, C pulled on the wick with pliers, and out popped these really cool-looking layered candles!
Tradition is saved. Today we turn them into dragon candles! Each night at dinner, between now and Advent, the light of the flame will devour the darkness of our dragons.
Which is what Michaelmas is about: slaying our inner dragons. Bravery, friendship, light. Next year we will read St. George and the Dragon and Li Chi Slays the Serpant. I didn't feel the children were quite ready for those this year. E is very sensitive to stories of children being put in unsafe situations, and e is just young. No getting around it.
Today we add a new tradition: making and flying kites! The wind and sun here in Virginia are glorious this time of year, and the hill at Mt. Trashmore will allow the cross in the kite to rise to the heavens.
Year-by-year, festivals and holidays take on more meaning and carry us through. Happy Michaelmas!