Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Harvest Celebrations

Festive Autumn Traditions

One of the richest folkloric seasons of the year is Autumn. This is harvest time, when for centuries people have been  gleaning, preparation, tending, storing and preparing grains, vegetables, fruits and livestock. These essential life basics were designed to nourish people during the winter season when many food items were scarce. A bounty of harvest folk wisdom has been  handed down from generation to generation.

Folklore about how best to survive the outside forces of weather and nature can be found in stories (legends, tales, etc.), music, food, art, and dance.  The details vary from culture to culture but all of them share in the festivities. Even though some of the examples below have already happened this year, it’s good to reminded of our creatively people celebrate this important time of year.

  • Korea: Chusok, also known as the Korean Thanksgiving occurs during the harvest season. Korean families take this time to thank their ancestors for providing them with rice and fruits.
  •  Israel: Sukkot the Feast of Tabernacles, begins five days after Yom Kippur and is observed for one week. Traditionally meals are taken outside the home in an unroofed hut decorated with the fruits of the harvest. It is reminder of the temporary dwellings of the Israelites during their journey through the desert.
  • Austria:  Saint Leopold's feast day marks the start of the heurigen, the new wine season. People celebrate the day with outdoor wine tastings and wine picnics, often accompanied by live music.
  • And of course, there’s Thanksgiving. This reminder of the bounty of food, family, and friends is a favorite for Americans.

Community gatherings like these not only celebrate the harvest, they also offer a time of camaraderie and joy. In some cases, this might be the last opportunity to do so before prohibitive winter sets in.

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