Meta: Explore the history behind the harvest festival and what it means.
The tradition of celebrating the fruits of our labor, literally in this case, spans the ages. Hence we at SirHoliday thought that it was only fitting that in the spirit of autumn and all things fruity, that we cross the history books to find the most interesting facts and stories originating from this period. Therefore, without further ado let’s explore what the harvest festival is, why it exists and what interesting little secrets does it have to share with the world.
The harvest festival can be explained as an annual celebration, where communities gather together to be grateful for the bounty that was gathered during the year’s agricultural activities.
Harvest festivals should be celebrated because not only is food such a key part of all of our lives, but they really help to link us back to our farmers and agricultural activities, that those of us in the cities and suburbs really feel linked to. They also remind us of how necessary it is to put wholesome, fresh, locally made foods into our bodies and that we should practice gratitude for our everyday things more often.
The history of the harvest festival is typically associated with the Christian church in recent years, as people would bake breads to take to their local churches, where the bread would be used during the holding of a much anticipated mass where God would be exalted for the bountiful harvest that was gathered during the year.
Nowadays, people more typically gather packaged foods and tinned items to take to their local church, which will then be donated to the poor and the needy during the harvest festival. However, the harvest festival was not always so welcomed by the church, as it was once seen as a pagan affair and therefore shunned by the Christian community.
In olden times, certain farmers believed that to cut down the last ear of corn standing within their field would cast bad luck upon on him and his farm. Yet, even in those days human competitiveness tended to triumph superstition, farmers would battle to be the first ones to finish harvesting all of the corn within their field and would shout out to their neighbor when they had cut down the last ear of corn. Some even put on a blindfold and then gave turns to him and his workers to swing their scythe in order to cut down the corn. It sounds like a rather dangerous game, thank goodness for technology.
Michaelmas Day on the 29th of September, is held to not only commemorate the end of the harvest season in England but also to celebrate the feast of St Michael. It is reported that within older times when people used to hold Michaelmas Day people would eat geese in the hopes that by eating the geese they would be protected from the harsh trials that the rest of the year and the winter cold had in store for them.
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