As autumn fast approaches Harvest Festivals are taking place in many schools and churches throughout the United kingdom.
This was originally a pagan festival to send thanksgiving for a good harvest (the word harvest coming from the Saxon word Haerfest). The early Church originally held harvest at Lammas (loaf mass where the harvest loaf made from the first wheat was blessed) which was on 1st August at the beginning of harvest.
Today Harvest Festivals are more likely to take place at the end of the harvest season and take the form of a thanksgiving service in a church-this being a Victorian innovation. Parishoners bring produce from gardens, farms and allotments to the church where it is displayed. Today many schools have replaced this fresh food with tins and packets which are distributed to local pensioners.
Our villlage still celebrates the traditional Harvest supper in the village hall (originally for farmers and farm workers, but now attended by anyone in the village who wishes to go)