We wanted to share this lovely speech given by Carol Triggiano, eighth grade teacher, at the Chicago Waldorf School.
"Geologists have discovered fossils of roses from 35million years ago. Through the centuries cultures all over the world have embraced the rose as a symbol of love, affection and warmth. In ancient Greece the goddess of love Aphrodite named her son, Eros, after the rose. The Roman god, Cupid, son of Venus, is said to have shot an arrow through a meadow of roses, causing them to develop thorns. The Arab culture tells the story of a nightingale who fell in love with a white rose. Upon coming closer, the thorns pierced his heart and the blood turned the rose red. It was then that the nightingale began to sing.
The Egyptian mother goddess, Isis, embraced the rose as a symbol for new beginnings and rebirth. The Hindu goddess Lakshmi is said to have fashioned a rose from 1008 small petals and 108 larger ones. To the Hindus the rose represents posterity and good fortune. Even in more modern times, Shakespeare used the rose over 70 times in his writings. Dear 1st graders, someday you will hear more stories from all of these cultures.
Many Waldorf schools all over the world will begin their year with a rose ceremony to welcome their new first grade class. Students from the oldest class in the school will present each new first grader with a rose to welcome them to the school community and to honor this important transition in their educational lives. This beautiful tradition will be repeated on the last day of school with a switch in roles. Then each first grader will present a graduating senior with a rose to say goodbye and to wish them, perhaps in Hindu tradition, posterity and good fortune.
In both celebrations the rose stands as a visible symbol of the love and warmth of a Waldorf community."
Photo Credit: Spring Garden Waldorf School, Kate Miller, first grade teacher.
- Waldorf Education