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September and Michaelmas Traditions

September 6, 2012

The name September comes from the roman word ‘septem’, meaning seven. This is because it was the seventh month in the Roman calendar. The Anglo-Saxons called it Gerst monath (barley month) because this is the time of year when they would harvest their barley to make ale.

 St Michaelmas day itself is on the 29th of September. It is named after 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 – the edge into winter – the celebration of Michaelmas is associated with insuring protection during the following darker months.

Michaelmas also is a day that marks the end of the growing cycle.  Traditionally this is when the Bailiff or Reeve would ask the Agricultural Tenants to settle their accounts with the manor

The custom of celebrating Michaelmas Day as the last day of harvest was broken when Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church; instead, it is Harvest Festival that is celebrated now.

At Sunnycroft our Michaelmas Fair follows the Harvest Festival theme with a celebration of fruit and vegetables grown in our garden. Michaelmas also gives us a chance to show the best of Shropshire’s locally grown and made produce with twenty stalls offering crafts, cakes and produce.

Apple press in action

As is in past years we will be borrowing Attingham Park’s traditional oak framed apple press. We will be offering an apple juicing service if visitors wish to bring large amounts of their own apples. Also this year we will also have a fairground style organ called ‘Rosie’ to further increase the fair’s atmosphere.

The Sunnycroft Michaelmas Fair takes place on 22nd – 23rd September 2012

by Joel Richards, Gardener

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