Labor Day has passed. The Patriotic Season, with the exception of Veteran’s Day is over. The Harvest Season has begun. The days are getting shorter, nights longer. After a blistering hot summer we are all hoping for cooler temperatures. The Harvest Season is dominated by celebrations of thanksgiving.
The First Harvest, Lughnasa, took place on August 1-2. That celebration was the promise of the Great Harvest of Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox. The pagan world celebrates Mabon as a festival of the harvest, getting ready for the cold dark days ahead. Sometimes we refer to it as the Witch’s Thanksgiving. The crops are ready, or have been gathered to store away.
October comes and there is more to harvest. Not only crops, but time to store away meat products. The Blood Harvest takes place in October. It’s not the happiest of harvests, but protein needs have to be met. That was particularly important in times past. One of my favorite celebrations that occurs early in October the Blessing of the Animals. St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated on October 4th, and the Blessing of the Animals takes place around that date by many spiritual groups. Aside from blessing the beloved animal members of your family, take a minute to say thank you to those animals who sacrifice themselves for our nourishment.
Then the end of October comes, Halloween, or Samhain are a time of the Trickster, treats, costumes, and much merriment. It is also a time of looking into the future and making sure you have the stores you need as Winter gets close. The Day of the Dead, November 1st is the day several religions celebrate and honor the lives of those we have lost. The Hispanic world celebrates Dia de los Muertos for the same reason. The peak of this celebration is November 2nd. These are not sad celebrations, but festivals that honor life. We also honor life and courage on November 11th, Veteran’s Day.
Here in the US we have one last festival to celebrate the harvest, Thanksgiving. Food, family, and football rule the day. Many have lost track of the idea of the harvest as being at the center of this festival, but it is. This is a time to give thanks for all the blessings that have come to you during the harvest season. One last Autumnal blowout before Winter arrives and the time of cold festivals begins.
How they fall in 2023:
September 23 – Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox
October 4 – Animal Blessing
October 31 – Halloween & Samhain
November 1st – Day of the Dead
November 2nd – Dia de los Muertos
November 11 – Veteran’s Day
November 23 – Thanksgiving