Michaelmas Day


Michaelmas Day is the Day of St. Michael and All the Angels. Michael was the Archangel who defeated Lucifer and banished him.  He is one of the main angelic warriors, protector of the night, and the giver of cosmic intelligence. He is the patron saint of the sea, ships, and horses. He is celebrated for his defeat of Lucifer.

It is celebrated on September 29th.  It falls near the equinox and is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days. It is traditionally the last day of harvest. It used to be the celebration of the Winter Night Curfew, which began with the tolls of a church bell. The bell was rung every night except for Sundays until Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent.

It is observed as a feast by the Church of England with a traditional meal of a stubble goose and St. Michael's Bannock cake. The reason for the goose is said to be because Queen Elizabeth was dining on a goose when she received news of the defeat of the Armada. She swore to always eat goose on Michaelmas Day and others followed.

Michaelmas was celebrated as a day of obligation until the 18th century. It was an English, Welsh & Irish quarter day when rents were due. Sometimes tenants would take a goose to their landlords in hopes of delay. It was also a day when new councils were elected including a representative of the king from the peasants.

Old Michaelmas Day is October 11.  Legend states that when Michael banished Lucifer from Heaven, he fell into a blackberry bush and cursed them, so Blackberries are not to be eaten after Michaelmas Day.

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