Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and readers in the United States!
Kristi here. Thanksgiving is not a traditional holiday in England, but being thankful for a bountiful harvest is hardly a new concept.
From medieval days, harvesters celebrated Lammas Day on August 1 where they brought loaves of bread made from the first harvested wheat were brought to the church. This was called the Loaf Mass, though some writings indicate that prior to offering loaves, parishioners offered lambs, making it a lamb mass and giving it the name.
When Henry VIII broke from the Catholic church, the celebration shifted to the end of the harvest, marking the successful completion of the gathering.
Some aspects of the harvest festivals include the tradition of the corn dolly, a large feast, and a sort of mini-parade with the horse pulling the final load of crops being decorated with garlands and flowers.
Harvest festivals were frequently held at the time of the Harvest moon. Occasionally this put the festival in October, but more frequently it landed in September, in close proximity to the mop fairs.
Churches were no longer a large part of the festival in Regency days, though by 1850 they were once more integral to the celebration. The connection with the church continues today, though it frequently includes a focus on those less fortunate and suffering from hunger and famine.
Whether you are feasting with family today or just grabbing a ham and turkey sandwich on your way home from work, take the time to be thankful.
Have a wonderful day.