I love Fall, with the excitement of the upcoming holidays, cooler temperatures, and pumpkins everywhere!
Fresh crop apples, pears, plump red grapes, and squash of every size and color just make you want to breathe deep and enjoy. Children and their parents are out shopping for the perfect Halloween costume, with wide-eyed glances at the huge bags of candy on the grocery store shelves!
The abundance of the harvest season has been celebrated all over the world since time began, but you might find some cultural traditions interesting – and these are just a few:
In ancient Iran, the harvest celebration of Mehregan was an extravagance, with pageantry, feasting, and valuable gifts. The holiday is still celebrated with an abundant table of treats, including rosewater, sweets, vegetables, pomegranates, apples, pistachios, almonds, and the air is scented with burning frankincense. Sharbat is drunk, a drink prepared from fruits or flower petals.
Samhain is an ancient Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season. The holiday is a celebration to welcome the darker half of the year. The people dressed as animals and monsters and is the origin story behind the traditions of Halloween – although the modern holiday is much less scary. The children trick-or-treating are looking for the maximum candy haul, not worried about being absconded by evil spirits.
The Great New Moon Festival
The Cherokee Nation celebrates the Great New Moon Ceremony to honor the first new moon in October, a celebration of the harvest. The holiday includes dances, sacred fire, and purifying rituals. The Cherokee believe Earth was created in the fall, and this celebration is one of their most cherished traditions, marking the beginning of a new year, and a time to give thanks to the Great Spirit.
Día de los Muertos
The “Day of the Dead” in Mexico is a colorful tradition, believed to have been handed down from the Aztec culture. The Disney movie “Coco” was inspired by this holiday. While some may consider the traditions on the spooky side, Día de los Muertos involves decorating graveyards and creating altars to honor ancestors and loved ones that have passed. Special cookies, tamales, candied pumpkin, and deliciously brewed Mexican hot chocolate are traditions of this season of abundance we all enjoy!
In Japan, the autumn parade is called the “Festival of the Ages.” It’s a historical parade where people are decked out in authentic costumes from various eras, and as famous characters in Japanese history. Held on October 22, this holiday celebrates the founding of Kyoto, once the Imperial Capital of the island nation. The pageantry is extraordinary. And, who doesn’t love Japanese food?
Whatever your background or heritage, we all celebrate the fall season of abundance and the coming of winter.
I love all the holidays. Sharing time with friends and family, with a table loaded with delicious home-cooked foods, is a perilous time. Add something new to your table from one of the many beautiful cultures on our planet and enjoy the season!