The foundation of our school is the recognition of the wholeness and connection of humanity with all life. Rhythm and routine are paramount, and at Sunrise School of Miami they are most apparent in the celebration of seasonal festivals. These are opportunities for outward observation of nature’s seasonal changes, and they also bring us together as a community.

*Rose Ceremony: The first day of school at Sunrise is filled with tradition and celebration, and the Rose Ceremony signifies it best. First graders are presented with a rose by the 8th grade class, many of whom had been presented with them as first-graders. This ceremony represents the beginning of a young child’s journey into lifelong learning.

*Michaelmas: Michaelmas is the first festival of the year, and it stands as one of the cornerstones of the yearly festival cycle, taking place as close to September 29th as possible. The struggle of St. George and the dragon is a powerful Michaelmas image. His sword pierces the darkness that is winter, symbolizing the inner courage needed to shine light on both the outer darkness and the darkness within.

Martinmas or Lantern Festival: St. Martin was known for his ability to bring light and warmth to those in darkness, and the Martinmas Celebration is inspired by old customs that honor him. Children and parents gather as the sun sets, handmade lanterns are lit, and together they embark on a walk into the darkness. 0o

Advent Spiral: The advent spiral is perhaps one of the most deeply moving community festivals of the year. The spiral, an early childhood and lower grades festival, is one of light, movement, and symbolic change. One by one, while carrying an unlit candle, the children walk to the center of a spiral that has been laid out with greens, shells, plants, and carved animals. In the center stands a tall lit candle, and with help from an adult, the child lights their candle and places it on a spot of their choosing along the pathway, little by little bringing the entire spiral into the light. All who attend leave with a sense of reverence and peace.

St. Nicholas Day: This is a European tradition in which Bishop Nicholas and his mute companion, Rupert, visit the children. On the eve of December 5th, in many traditions, children place their shoes outside the door hoping St. Nicholas will leave a treat. Golden nuts, oranges and dates are left at the door as St. Nicholas and Rupert make a visit to the Early Childhood and grade school. The children eagerly await the tap at the door from his wooden walking staff!

Santa Lucia: A second grade student, dressed in white as Santa Lucia and wearing a crown aglow with four candles, leads a procession of classmates. They visit Early Childhood and each of the grades classes singing ‘Santa Lucia’ and carry their light throughout the school. The second graders are busy for days before, baking cookies that they will share with their schoolmates, as the procession travels through the school.

May Day: Our May Day celebration gives the students the opportunity to share this festival with family and friends. The grade school children enjoy the tradition of dancing to music around the May Pole which is decorated with flowers and colored ribbons. All of the students sing traditional spring songs. In addition to the festive dancing and singing, community is further formed by sharing light refreshments.