Birthdays are always cause for celebration, especially in Waldorf education. Traditions and rituals help children to experience the rhythm of the year, and celebrating a birthday honours the child’s place in the family and in the world. Below are some suggestions for bringing meaningful traditions to your child's birthday at home.
You can begin the night before. Before bed, you could light a candle and share this verse with your child.
When I have climbed into my bed,
And dreams begin swirling in my head,
And Mother/Father turns off the light,
I’ll still be  years old tonight.
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be  years old!
 kisses when I wake,
 candles on my cake.
Give the number of kisses for their age for the past year and tell them that when they awake, you’ll give one more kiss in the morning.
After your child is asleep, you can 'set the stage' so to speak, for their special day. Some families create a path from the child's bedroom to the area of celebration. This could be done with leaves from outside or cut out paper hearts, seashells, balloons or whatever you feel is appropriate for your family.
In the area you wish to celebrate, you can create a 'birthday table.' This could be as simple as a small table draped with material or silks upon which you can place a wooden birthday ring. The ring usually has 12 - 16 holes around the circle. Each year, you light the numbers of candles your child is turning.
Birthday Crown & Cape:
To make their birthday a royal affair, in the morning, once they have followed the path to the birthday table, you could ceremoniously place a birthday crown on your child’s head, and a birthday cape on their shoulders. Then you could tell them their birthday story.
After lighting the candles, you can tell a 'Birthday Story' that is unique to the child you are telling it too. The story might include a child looking down on the earth from above, seeing their parents and choosing to cross the 'Rainbow Bridge' to join their family on the earth. Below is an example of a possible story you could tell to your child on their birthday and story details can be changed to fit your unique family.
Another option is to save the lighting of the candles until after this first part of the story in the following way...
They looked in awe at this new life and said “We shall call him/her/them ____________ “
(Light the first candle) When (name of child) was 1 (tell a bit about what your child was like at 1 years old and continue each year till the year they are turning) ______
(Light the second candle) When (name of child) was 2 they, ____
(Light the third candle) When (name of child) was 3 ____
(Light the fourth candle) When (name of child) was 4 ____
(Light the fifth candle) When (name of child) was 5 ____
(Light the sixth candle) And now (name of child) is 6 ____
(Light the seventh candle) And now (name of child) is 7!!
Then you can sing your traditional birthday song followed by cake and gifts and other birthday traditions your family already has or is now creating.
The Birthday Book by Ann Druitt has wonderful ideas for bringing meaning in the Waldorf tradition to your child’s special day including ideas for games and activities, recipes, decorations and much more.
There is no right or wrong way to create meaningful birthday celebration so make it your own and have fun!
Explore schedules, rhythms & routines, songs, music, festivals, free play, meals, projects & more to support your homeschooling program.
The Wonder Squad