Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday's Words

This is the last Wednesday of September, and my word for the week is Michaelmas.  It's another of those words that I find fun to pronounce :)  Michaelmas is a good September word, because it's officially celebrated by the Roman Catholic church and the Church of England on September 29th.  Michaelmas, or the Feast of Saint Michael and the Archangels, falls near the equinox in the northern hemisphere, and thus is associated with autumn.

In England, Michaelmas is one of the four "quarter days" in the year; Lady Day (March 25th) , Midsummer (June 24th), Michaelmas (September 29th), and Christmas (December 25th).

In earlier times, the harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas.  It was a time when land was exchanged or debts were paid, and when servants were hired.  Eventually Michaelmas came to be the time for electing magistrates, and the beginning of the legal and university term.

England used to have harvest festivals, or fairs, and goose was the traditional dish served in households for Michaelmas Day.  Our local Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem opens September 30th this year, one day after Michaelmas.  The North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh begins October 13th ( in Britain Old Michaelmas Day was October 10th).  Coincidence -- I think not ;)  Another tradition carried over from the Old Country.

I do love this time of the year.  Cool, crisp weather; fall festivals at schools and churches; local fairs; big, golden-orange moons; beautiful fall foliage; and cooking and eating comfort foods.  What's not to love?

By the way, have you planted your Michaelmas Daisies yet?  In America, we know them as Asters.

Image courtesy of

Have a lovely end of the month!

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