Summer is probably the most beloved and preferred time of the year and there is no wonder - summer days are long and carefree, the nights are nice and warm and it is scientifically proven that lying on the beach with a cocktail in hand is the best way to relax and get rid of the accumulated stress! The ardent rays of the sun caress you, the ocean breeze (or the blast of office’s air conditioner) ruffles your hair and you don't even notice how slowly but steadily each day becomes shorter, at the expense of the lengthening night. Imperceptibly it is already September 22- the autumn equinox, or most commonly known as the First Day of Fall. So, happy Fall everyone! But have you ever wondered when people actually started to celebrate the onset of autumn? Put on your favorite cozy sweater and let's check some facts and go through some ideas to assure you that Fall is indeed full of magic (and mystery) and deserves to be celebrated!
The History of Fall and Harvest Celebrations Around the World
So first things first- what does autumnal equinox mean? This fancy term comes from the Latin words aequus which means “equal,” and nox, meaning “night,” and is used to describe the equivalent length of day and night as the seasons change. This natural event occurs two times a year-once when spring arrives on March 21 and September 22, but it wasn't always recognized as an actual transition to a different season. In fact, autumn wasn't a thing and had no name even 1000 years after humanity already knew of the existence of summer and winter but at the same time, it was the most celebrated season of all. Harvest festivals are believed to be the oldest form of celebrations around the world and across different cultures. Since farming is considered to be one of the first professions and means of survival it is no wonder that harvest festivals date back to ancient times and are still widely observed to this day. So let’s take a look at some interesting traditions around the world.
In many Asian countries like China, Vietnam, and South Korea the harvest celebrations are deeply associated with the full phase of the moon during autumn times which happens around mid-September to early October. It is believed that around this time the moon is at its brightest and fullest size and to observe this phenomenon, families would get together to enjoy a celebrational dinner with the crops and indulge in many different varieties of delicious mooncakes, which are specially made to honor the holiday.
Yams to please the Gods
Another interesting example of a harvest celebration is the Festival of Yams. It is observed in some West African countries like Ghana and Nigeria and is held to mark the end of the rainy season. During the celebratory parades and dances, the first yams are offered to the gods to thank them for the good harvest. The Festival of Yams is a national holiday and is celebrated for 5 consecutive days, starting always on a Tuesday.
History of Thanksgiving
Without a doubt the most famous Harvest festival around the world is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not just an official national holiday, it is also the day to think through and express gratitude towards everything and everyone you are thankful for, and what is a better way to celebrate it than gathering with family and loved ones? Adding food to the equation. Lots of food. But like every big holiday, Thanksgiving also has its history and it is quite an interesting one!
The story begins with the "Mayflower". On September 16, 1620, from the English city of Plymouth, this small merchant ship sailed to the New World and took 102 people, who called themselves pilgrims. After 66 days of sailing and hardships, on November 21 "Mayflower" anchored in the bay near Cape Cod. The new settlers arrived in late autumn with almost no food reserves facing the beginning of the harsh winter. During the difficult cold months, without food and idea how to farm the land of their new home, half of the settlers unfortunately died. The survivors received enormous help from the local population - the Wampanoag Indians, who helped them and this made the first harvest of the 53 surviving pilgrims plentiful. Thus a celebration was organized to thank God for the food and the locals for their help. The rest is history. Literally.
After this little tour around the world, you should be already convinced that there is no better season to celebrate than Fall. It doesn't matter if you are one of those people who love it and have already packed out your sweaters and rain boots or you are one of those who melancholically wave Summer goodbye, there is no denying that the third season has many different sides-from the golden leafs to the misty skies and offers unending activities and opportunities to satisfy every taste.
Some traditional (and not so traditional) activity ideas to celebrate Fall 2021!
Hayrides are a traditional activity to celebrate the autumn harvest. And to be honest, is there a better way to do it than to hop on a wagon, filled with hay and to enjoy the crisp autumn air? The answer is obviously, no.
Apple and Pumpkin Picking
Apple picking is a long-standing fall tradition and one that every family looks forward to each year. There is nothing better than being able to pick your own apples. Actually, there is. Eating them afterwards (or during shhhhh).
On the other hand, pumpkin picking is the most popular tradition connected to the second biggest holiday during autumn- Halloween. Pumpkins make a great home decor during the fall, but everyone knows their real purpose- being carved into the ultimate, spookiest Halloween jack-o-lantern.
A backyard bonfire party with friends, snacks, and marshmallows is probably the best way to spend a nice evening in the fall. And why not get in the mood and tell the story of Bloody Mary? Minus points if it drizzles. Crying in fear counts as well.
A nice wine-tasting tour is always in style. Grapes are mostly harvested during the fall months and there is nothing better than observing the process with a glass of chianti. Followed by another one. Aaand another one. It's a long process after all!
The best thing about fall is that its beautiful colors can be seen everywhere. It is a great time to go out and explore nature (except when it rains cats and dogs). It doesn't matter if it is a short trip to the nearest park or a planned visit to a beautiful landmark. Bonus points: make sure to snap some pictures!
And if you don't enjoy outdoor activities that much, here are some ideas to keep you entertained in the safety of your own home.
1. Decorate the Front Porch
While there are many opportunities and ideas, a classic porch decor consisting of pumpkins and candle lanterns will save you some time and it simply looks great.
2. Create your own Fall themed Tablescape
Ok, this one might require you to go out there, but it will be worth it! Gather some acorns, cones, leafs and basically everything that the trees have to offer you. Clean them well, paint them, and scatter them around the table cloth. It is minimalistic and looks good at the same time!
3. Knit a Fall Scarf
It doesn't have to be perfect. Also, it's the best time to learn how to knit - with Christmas approaching, a self made scarf is actually a great gift idea!
4. Make Leaf Crafts
If you have kids at home this is a fun activity to keep them occupied and to keep their imagination in tact. Also, the searching for the perfect leaves is a task on its own!
5. Make Your Halloween Costume
With Halloween around the corner it is the perfect time to start making your own costume. Keep an eye on The Holiday Blog for the top trending Halloween costumes of 2021!
Make sure to Check out Create Holiday Magic’s Fall Activities Pinterest board for even more fun and productive activities during this time of the year. Wishing you a nice and fun transition into the new season..Happy first day of Fall!
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