Birthday And Celebration Rings
I would like to share with you our family tradition of using Waldorf celebration rings to mark the birthdays of our two children.
In my background, birthdays were about gifts rather the celebration of birth. This all changed when I met my husband. His mother is German and he went to a Waldorf school. He had strong family traditions that he brought to our new family, especially when we had our first child.
We were given a traditional wooden wreath with 12 holes for our son's first birthday (you can also buy larger variations with 16-24 holes). The holes represent each year of a child's life and on each consecutive birthday you replace one figure or decoration with a candle.
I had never heard of nor seen one before and wasn't sure what they were for until I saw it in action on our son's birthday.
My husband and his mum made little wooden peg doll gnomes as decorations and they bought a small beeswax candle. On the birthday, my husband decorated our whole house with colourful paper garlands and created a magical table decoration using the wooden wreath. He placed gnomes in the holes leaving one space for the candle. He also picked fresh flowers and sprigs of little branches, placing them around the centrepiece. It created such a beautiful atmosphere and was the first thing our son noticed when he woke up.
At breakfast, we lit the candle, symbolising our son's first year with us. Later, when we brought out the cake, we placed the ring around it and used the candle on the ring instead of on the cake. As the kids have grown older, we've altered our little tradition to include candles on the cake as well.
This tradition has made me appreciate how special each birthday is, bringing a sense of reverence to me, as well as to my children, that their birthday is so much more than a party or the presents they get. It’s a celebration of how much they have grown, experienced and how much they have blessed our lives with their presence. Some families tell stories, sing songs or recite rhymes which highlight this as they light the candles.
You can create your own family birthday ritual by using ornaments that have a special meaning to your child. Maybe crystals, shells, flowers or feathers. You can also introduce the wooden wreath for seasonal festivities, on a nature table or as a base for an advent wreath.
Grimm’s have created a whole range of handmade wooden figures and wreaths or rings to help you on your way to creating your own magical birthday celebrations.
My son is now 10 and still loves our tradition.