The first Month of Autumn is here, which means it is time to celebrate — traditionally, the world celebrates the end of the harvest season. Let’s learn more about the origin of the festival, its history, and traditions in different countries.
Originally, celebration at the end of the harvest season was aimed to honor the earth and nature for its precious gifts. Besides, it was a day to create a foundation of agriculture and gardening for the next year. In days gone by, families praised the Gods and gave their thanks for the protection and stability. Still, the ceremony is relevant in today’s realities and the celebration is held around the world as food festivals, county fairs, and even theme contests. County fairs are conducted with markets of farm products, technics, fertilizers, yet old custom to celebrate it with music, food, and dances is cherished as well.
Thanksgiving in the US
Possibly, one of the most famous, remarkable and acknowledged celebrations in the world. It’s been argued when was the very first Thanksgiving praised, however, it’s mostly believed to be Autumn of 1621. These were hard times for new inhabitants as crops were poor for a couple of years in a row. They say it was the then governor to announce the day of prayers and fast. And the miracle appeared — the rain started, therefore the Thanksgiving day became an annual occasion to gather the family and friends together. A turkey has become an essential symbol of the celebration, while pumpkin pie is considered as a traditional dessert for the day. By the way, there is a curious custom of giving “mercy” to the turkey during the Thanksgiving Day celebration in the White House, invented by the 33rd president of the United States. After the turkey is given with a mercy by the current president, it goes directly to the Zoo, where it spends the rest of its life. The best part of the day is, certainly, when families sit around the festive table, starting all with a prey and giving their thanks for what they achieved during the year in the end. Another one significant part of the event is a famous parade, firstly organized in 1924 and sponsored by Macy’s.
Harvest Day in the UK
Traditionally, the harvest day in the UK is timed to the harvest moon (which is a full moon, usually occurs between 21-23 September). This is a special day to not only give thanks for crops, but share with those people who are in need, thus lots of charity auctions are held across the country these days. This is a beautiful occasion to spread kindness, humanity, compassion all around. In churches, people sing hymns and give their preys, which makes the celebration more spiritual. Along with that, a number of diverse festivals, shows, fairs are running across the UK, such as an annual Autumn Countryside Show, which is organized on the territory of the Open-Air Museum and includes about fifty constructions built during the 13th-19th centuries. Attendees have a chance to discover the variety of old-fashioned farmer houses, barns, horse stables, and other significant historical buildings. What’s more, there are gardens with flowers and herbs cultivated since the Medieval times there, as they say. The celebration itself carries traditional falcon hunting and exhibition of classic rural utilities.
Harvest Festival in Germany
The day is called Erntedankfest and usually is proclaimed every first Sunday of October. The official date is recommended by the German Catholic Church every year. Erntedankfest is followed with some religious observances (churches are decorated with flowers and wreaths), parades and processions, and, of course, lots of foods, drinks (mostly beers), music and dances. People are entertained with the horse race, target shooting, and festive fireworks at the end of the day.
Harvest Festival in Sweden
The festival called Skördefest is established every October on the Oland island. Dozens of different events are held across the island, such as fish and cuisine contests, dance shows, the biggest pumpkin contest (by the way, the symbol of the harvest festival). However, Konstnatten or so-called art night is considered as the most exciting part of the event — the island becomes literally dazzling and littering, and the number of art galleries, museums, studios opens their doors to present the masterpieces.