Easter is an important festival for Steiner followers. It is also important for some Christians of course; for a few it is one of the two days a year when they attend church, but it is celebrated for specific reasons by those who run Steiner schools.
Here is a description of Easter at Edinburgh Steiner school;
“Due to the Easter holiday we frequently do not have the opportunity to celebrate Easter in school, but in our assemblies at the end of the spring term and at the beginning of the summer term we try to reflect the dramatic changes of mood within the Easter period. We can illustrate the polarities of life and death, light and darkness, contraction and expansion, destruction and renewal.”
Most people in this country are not thinking of these concepts at Easter. Some may give a passing thought to the resurrection, probably triggered by a film on TV or a timely BBC documentary, but mainly they will be thinking of chocolate, roast lamb perhaps, and an extra two days off – maybe some gardening.
Light and darkness, destruction and renewal? No, I don’t think so.
Steiner schools in the UK talk of rebirth and fertility as part of Easter, and the significance of the season, but Easter in the Southern Hemisphere does not occur in Spring.
A Steiner school in New Zealand says “As part of Holy Week the Lower School classes plant bulbs. It is always a challenge for teachers of the younger classes to find the right metaphor for the Easter event, especially when Easter is in Autumn. In the Southern Hemisphere we do not have the pictures in nature of sprouting and the new life that speak to the resurrection, rather a dying-away…”
Geoffrey Ahern pointed out in his book “Sun at Midnight”;
“His [Steiner’s] imputation of European seasons worldwide was clearly a slip”(page 184)
So much for the festivals being seasonal and at one with nature; they are anthroposophical festivals, pure and simple.
According to Steiner Easter is special because it is not earthly like Christmas, but cosmic; the day of the Easter festival is determined by a constellation of the stars;
“Principles such as these were laid down at a time when traditions of wisdom were still current among mankind, traditions that originated from ancient atavistic clairvoyant faculties and gave man a knowledge far surpassing the knowledge that present-day science can offer. And such traditions were a means for bringing to expression man’s connection with the worlds beyond the earth. They always point to something of supreme importance for the evolution [of] mankind. “
There is a whole lot more in this vein and a long explanation of why he thought St Paul played an important role in “the evolution of the Christ Impulse within the whole history of mankind” in this lecture on Easter in The Festivals and their Meaning.
Yes Steiner school festivals are picturesque, but they are not celebrating the seasons, as parents often believe; children are being educated in Rudolf Steiner’s bizarre take on the “history of mankind” and the “course of earth-evolution”, which is considerably at odds with accepted history and science.
As usual all is not as it seems, and it is necessary to look behind the colourful façade to discover what is really being planted in the minds of children in the name of a so-called child-centred education.