Creating place-based Waldorf festivals An ethnographic study of festivals in two non-European Waldorf schools

Vera Hoffmann

Abstract


Waldorf Schools, in their history started out as schools, located in European countries with a strong Christian heritage. However, almost one hundred years later there are schools in every inhabited continent of the world. These schools have mainly been founded with European support concerning finances, materials and curricular contents. In a considerable amount of cases those European Waldorf contents and Waldorf traditions have been exported to far away countries, often not only far away concerning space and nature but also concerning culture and religion. This ethnographic study investigates the processes that two schools in two continents have undergone in overcoming the influences of Eurocentric Waldorf festival traditions. It studies how they reconceptualised those traditions to then develop place based new forms of celebrating Waldorf annual festivals. The findings are related to literature from sociology, ritual theory, Indigenous Knowledge, Anthroposophy and to related studies in Waldorf contexts from the Middle East, Taiwan, South Africa, Germany and New Zealand. It offers profound insights into the school life and cultural surrounding of two quite different and unique Waldorf schools, Kusi Kawsay in Peru and Nairobi Waldorf School in Kenya.

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