Michaelmas, also known as the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels is celebrated on September 29. It is one of the four quarter days of the church year, marking the seasons. The others are Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), and Christmas (25th December).

St Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, protector against the dark of the night and the Archangel who fought against Satan and his evil angels. As Michaelmas is the time that the darker nights and colder days begin as we edge into winter, the celebration of Michaelmas is associated with encouraging protection during these dark months.

During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas was a great religious feast and many popular traditions grew up around the day, which coincided with the harvest in much of western Europe. In Ireland, finding a ring hidden in a Michaelmas pie meant that one would soon be married. Another old tradition says, “A Tree planted at Michaelmas, will surely not go amiss.”

As one of the quarter days, it was said that harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas, almost like the marking of the end of the productive season and the beginning of the new cycle of farming. It was the time at which new servants were hired or land was exchanged and debts were paid. Since in the old days many debts were paid with a brace of geese, eating goose came to be associated with this day.

It is also a time in the Celtic calendar when families determined what cattle they were going to keep over the winter, and which were to be slaughtered and preserved for food. So today, we celebrate the coming of autumn in this old tradition. Happy Michaelmas!

Quotes about harvest

Nature herself does not distinguish between what seed it receives. It grows whatever seed is planted; this is the way life works. Be mindful of the seeds you plant today, as they will become the crop you harvest.–Mary Morrissey

Inside every seed is the potential for an incredible harvest.–Farrah Gray

The farmer has patience and trusts the process. He just has the faith and deep understanding that through his daily efforts, the harvest will come.And then one day, almost out of nowhere, it does.–Robin Sharma

Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.–Kent Nerburn

Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.–Sharon Kay Penman

The season for enjoying the fullness of life – partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest with others, and reinvesting and saving portions of the harvest for yet another season of growth.–Denis Waitley

Life is a thing of many stages and moving parts. What we do with ease at one time of life we can hardly manage at another. What we could not fathom doing when we were young, we find great joy in when we are old. Like the seasons through which we move, life itself is a never-ending series of harvests, a different fruit for every time.–Joan D. Chittister

You plant, then you cultivate, and finally you harvest. Plant, cultivate, harvest. In today’s world, everyone wants to go directly from plant to harvest.–Jeff Olson

When so rich a harvest is before us, why do we not gather it? All is in our hands if we will but use it.–Elizabeth Ann Seton

In my belief, a harvest is also a legacy, for very often what you reap is, in the way of small miracles, more than you consciously know you have sown.–Faith Baldwin

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2 thoughts on “Michaelmas

  1. I am a non practicing Catholic, and I hang my head in shame that I really didn’t what Michaelmas day was. Thanks for the info!


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