Celebrating Birthdays the Waldorf Way


Hello friends and welcome to another
“Sunday with Sarah.” I’m Sarah Baldwin and today I’m here to talk to you about
Waldorf birthdays or how we celebrate birthdays in early childhood in the
Waldorf tradition. One of our best-selling products are our Birthday
Rings and our Birthday Ring Decorations and one of the frequent questions I get
from customers and viewers is how to use the birthday ring. So today I’m going to
share with you not only how I used the birthday ring in my classroom but also
share with you the birthday story that I would tell. So let me explain: if it was a
child’s birthday they would come in and the birthday ring would be all set up
from the evening before, the afternoon before. So children would come
in, the birthday child would find a rainbow birthday cape like this hanging
on their chair and a birthday crown. These are our Waldorf Birthday Cape—Rainbow Cape—and the Reversible Silk Crown from Sarah’s Silks that are
wonderful for this purpose. This crown is reversible. So the child would put on the
cape and the crown. His or her parents were also invited on the birthday to
our celebration, they would sit on either side of the child and the other children would
be around in a circle and I would be at the center telling the birthday story.
And here’s an example of the story I used. Now the first part you’ll hear was the
same story pretty much for every child. The second part is going to include
details, milestones from that child’s life for however many years old they are.
Today we’re going to do a birthday for a six year-old. So I would ask the
parents in advance to give me details of the child’s milestones: what their
birth was like and then milestones, what happened during their first year, after
birth, and what happened when they were one year-old. Three or four milestones from each
year; places they visited. So if you’re a parent, you know these things. If you’re a
teacher working with a group of children you might do something similar. Now the
Birthday Ring right here—I’ve got our Birthday Ring Set that we sell and
this is in natural wood, we also have the Birthday Ring at Bella Luna Toys which
comes in white, a kind of whitewash, or in rainbow colors with four rainbow
colored pieces. Whatever your preference is. But the Birthday Ring Set we sell
comes with six candles and six decorations and each candle goes in a
brass candle holder like this. You do not want to put the candle directly in the
ring because it could be a fire hazard and you don’t want the wax to melt into
the holes. The birthday ring has 12 holes drilled and the decorations, on the other
hand, have a wooden peg and they fit right in
the holes of the Birthday Ring. You don’t need the the brass candle holder for
those. And so the six decorations that I chose for our Birthday Ring Set
represent the elements that you will hear in the story: we have an angel, a
moon and a star representing the kind of heavenly life before birth, and
then we’ve got a tree, a house and a rabbit representing the earthly life the
child is being born into. So we will tell Abbie’s birthday story today. Normally I
I had this story memorized by heart but because it’s been a while since
I’ve told the birthday story I do have my notes here. Once upon a time, more than six years ago,
Abbie wasn’t here on the earth at all. Oh, no. She was up in heaven with her
guardian angel. She had a lovely time there. She could roll around, she could
dance, she could hop first on one foot and then on the other without falling at
all. One day, Abbie’s angel gave her a ball made of real gold.
Abbie loved to play with her golden ball. She would throw it high up into the air
and catch it again and she could toss it from one hand to the other without
dropping it even once. Then, one day, when Abbie was in a very strange and curious
sort of mood, she wanted to see how far she could throw that golden ball. So she
picked it up, felt its weight in her hand at her shoulder, aimed, and threw that
ball just as far as she could. Well, she threw it so far that it
disappeared right out of sight. Abbie searched here, there, and everywhere,
but the ball was nowhere to be found. But then suddenly, Abbie saw
something shining among the clouds, and lo and behold, there was her
golden ball. As she reached for it, the clouds parted and Abbie saw something
beautiful. She caught sight of the earth and there she saw oceans and mountains
and blue sky and trees. And as she looked even closer, she saw a little red
farmhouse with a woman working in the garden and she saw a man with kind and
loving eyes busy fixing things around the house. The woman was singing “Oh,
how happy I would be if a child would come to me.” And she saw
three little Corgi dogs barking happily and running around
the yard. And as soon as Abby saw the man and the woman she wanted to go down to
earth to be with them, to be their little daughter. “Look!” said Abbie to her Guardian
Angel. “May I go and visit them?” “Yes,” said her Guardian Angel. “Yes, you may, but first
we will go on a very long walk. Take my hand and we shall go.” First, Abbie and her
Angel visited the house of the Sun. The Sun gave Abbie the gift of courage and
tucked it into her heart. “This courage,” said the Sun, “will give you
strength when life is difficult.” Abbie thanked the Sun. Next, they visited the
house of the Moon. The Moon gave Abbie the gift of wisdom and tucked it under each
of her feet. It felt just like a pair of soft slippers. Abbie thanked the Moon. Next,
they traveled past many, many Stars and each one winked at Abbie as she passed by.
Then one Star, Abbie’s own very special Star that still shines in the
heaven every night, touched her lightly on the eyes and said “Here is the gift of
the twinkle in your eye, that you may always see the joy in life.” Abbie thanked
the Star. Then Abbie’s Angel led her through the Starry Gates to the Rainbow
Bridge. The Sun and the Moon and the Stars sang her name. “Remember,
I will always be with you during your journey on the earth,” said her Angel. Then
Abbie slid over the Rainbow Bridge, down, down to the earth. A kind and gentle
lady with a beautiful smile and warm brown eyes took the tiny child and
tucked her in a special place under her heart where she carried her for many
days and many weeks and many months until one day she held a beautiful baby
girl in her arms. “Oh, look!” said her Mother and Father. “She
is the most beautiful gift of all. We shall call her Abigail Lucy Reed, for
that is the very best name for her.” During her first year
on earth, Abbie learned to do many, many things. She learned to smile and to
roll over, and then she learned to sit up by herself
and later pull herself up to stand. She loved music and her favorite toys were a
little wooden rattle with a bell in it and her favorite teddy bear. And then the
baby, who wasn’t quite tiny anymore, had her first birthday and she turned
one year-old. Well, during the year that Abbie
was one year-old, she learned to do many more things. She took her first
steps when she was 13 months-old and walked right over to her Grandpa.
She also said her first word which was “horse” but it came out sounding more
like “herse.” Abbie’s grandparents came to visit from Florida that year. And then,
after another trip around the Sun, Abbie had another birthday and turned two
years-old. Well, during the year Abbie was two, she took a big family trip to a
wedding in Vermont. While Abbie and her family were in Vermont, they visited
the Morgan Horse Farm and Cabot Cheese Factory. Abbie loved the garlic cheese and
happily munched. While she was two Abbie spent much time with her Mom, playing, drawing and reading, but Abbie especially loved playing with her horses. She took
care of her riding rocking horse, lovingly grooming her and shoeing
her every day. Then Abbie had another birthday and was now three years-old. During the year that Abby was three,
she rode her first horse, Mercedes. It was love at first sight.
Abbie placed daisies in her hair and in the mane of Mercedes while riding her.
That was the year she started ballet lessons which she still loves and
continues. Then, Abbie had another birthday and turned four years-old. When Abbie was four, she was able to lead
a miniature horse named Midnight to her grandparent’s camp from a neighbor’s
house, with her mummy following close behind.
Abbie continued to love horses and her ballet lessons. Then, Abbie had another
birthday and turned five years-old. Well, during the summer that Abbie was five,
she learned to ride her two-wheel bike with training wheels. She also learned to
climb a tree all by herself. And in the fall, when she was still five,
she joined Miss Sarah’s kindergarten class and met Miss Sarah and Miss Jess
and all of you, her friends here, for the first time. Now,
today is February 27th and Abbie is again celebrating a birthday and today Abbie is
6 years-old. We wish you a happy birthday. A joyous
and celebrated birthday to our dear Abbie. May you have a long, long life. And we
would end with that song. That song can also be sung as a round, it’s really
pretty. So now, if a child is fewer than six years-old, you could put more
decorations and fewer candles. You want the number of candles for the age the
child is turning. And if they are older than six, you remove some of the
decorations. And we have a 16-hole Birthday Ring for older children if
you want to continue the tradition. But this is a lovely tradition that families
can celebrate at home as well as in a classroom. So I hope that helps
you know what you can do with a Birthday Ring. I will post the birthday story
below this video. Hope it will give you some inspiration. This story has been
adapted from different stories that different teachers have told in their
classes. I took bits and pieces from it and you are free to do the same to
make it meet your family. But happy birthday to all the children whose
birthday is today. Thank you for watching, don’t forget to subscribe to the “Sunday
with Sarah” YouTube channel if you haven’t already and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.

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Comments

  1. Wonderful story that should be translated into many languages…. and into Russian too. Sarah, I express my gratitude to share it with us, I will tell this story to my children in the class!!! Could you tell me who is the author of this story as I will point, I must point the author of this story when I share it among my children. Great thanks!!! From Russia with LOVE

  2. Hello Sara, is it normal to have bullying in Waldorf schools? my daughter is in a Waldorf kindergarten and the other childrens hit him and laugh at his
    way of speaking … she has disorder specific language, and delay cognitive.What can I do? I talked already
    with the teacher and told me that he can not do anything is something that children must solve. And my daughter is not happy and tells me that she has a bad time. I would like to know your opinion about it. Greetings from Argentina
    Roman

  3. I think it's wonderful for a child to be told a narrative of their life, and you're a great story teller. But I just don't see the need to add "other world" lies to it.

  4. I am crying! This is so beautiful! I have a birthday ring, and am going to share this joy with my kids for many years to come. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Ive actually decided to use some of these ideas for at home and make an ongoing ‘birthday story book’ that we add to each year and read on each childs birthday!

  6. This story up until she came to her mother is very much alike of my daughter actually told me when she was 2 through 4 years old!! Thank you for sharing this. I noted what she said as she told me time after time so maybe I can make it to our own story and tell that story as our birthday tradition using birthday ring like you showed. Making picture book of it was my plan but this way I can adjust to any children. Thank you thank you

  7. Hello Sara. You mention in the Video that you will post the story below in the infobox. But I can not find it there. Could you please post it. Thank you so much.

  8. This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing my daughter is turning four on Monday and LOVES stories. She asks us to "tell a story from our minds" daily. I'm going to start this tradition in our home.

    Could you please share this story written in the description above or in a comment?

  9. Also, how do you traditionally transition away from this tradition once a child has turned 12? Is there a part of the story or new story or new ritual that takes place of this one for a 13th birthday?

  10. I would be glad if you could use vegan silk for the products. Conventional silk is cruel to the animals, who this particular industry does not care about.

  11. This is kind of interesting to me because at the Montessori school or I worked for about six years we had a birthday ring as well but it was in the shape of a sun. We put a pillar candle in the middle and we will set it on a table and light it. Then we would hand the globe to the birthday child and the teacher would explain that for every year since you were born the Earth has gone around the Sun. So, we would have the child walk around the sun for each year old he/she was and the class would count the number. Then we would sing Happy Birthday in sign language and their choice of English or Spanish. Then they got to blow out the candle.

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