“Nothing is more fleeting than external form, which withers and alters like the flowers of the field at the appearance of autumn.”
– Umberto Eco
Well, it’s that time of year when the days shorten, the weather gets cooler, and leaves turn golden, and then…fall. Autumn is here—the time of year for the harvest, for giving thanks, and preparing for winter. So, let’s talk about the changing of the seasons and what it means, starting at the very beginning.
The Beginning of fall:
This is when the leaves change colors and we get to experience magnificent fall foliage. The Fall Equinox occurs at the same time all around the world (but not on the same day each year) and, since ancient times, has been celebrated by all sorts of cultures, including the Incas, Mayans, and English at Stonehenge. It’s a very special time of year.
Autumn Equinox Blessing
Traditions, Beliefs and Ways of Celebrating the Beginning of Fall
- Persephone—the goddess of spring—returns to the underworld in Greek mythology.
- First, be grateful (sort of like a precursor to Thanksgiving) and enjoy dishes made with ripe, juicy apples. Now is the perfect time of year for an apple picking excursion!
- Pumpkin dishes are prepared (pumpkin spice lattes and pie—yum!) while corn, root vegetables, squash, bread, and grains are feasted upon.
- It’s that time of year for yummy hot apple cider.
- Chinese Harvest Moon Festival: At the beginning of autumn, the Chinese celebrate with The Moon festival. This is a festival that gives thanks for the abundance of the summer’s harvest, and people gather and serve mooncake filled with lotus, sesame seeds, a duck egg, or dried fruits.
Harvest Festivals in Britain: In ancient times, Harvest was a festival celebrated in villages across England and was a celebration for the abundant gathering of corn. Merry-making, dancing, and a traditional tea or supper were shared by everyone. Imagine a party as lovely as that!
- Six Days of Higan in Japan: a Buddhist celebration where the dead are remembered (very much like Dia De Los Muertos around Halloween). “Higan” means the “other shore” and refers to the spirits reaching Nirvana. People use this time to visit, clean, and decorate graves with their loved ones.
Natural Beauty to Witness and Fun to be Had
- Fabulous Foliage: One of the most enjoyable parts of fall is watching the leaves turn from bright green to fiery reds and oranges, bright yellows, and russet. It’s also fun to play in the piles of raked leaves and to hear them crunch underfoot!
- Fiery sunsets arrive earlier in the evening, leaving us with shorter days and longer, chilly nights. This is when you need cozy blankets and cuddly plush toys on your bed.
- Use this time to bake cookies and pies with your children and loved ones.
- Read spooky stories.
- Carve a pumpkin.
- Go for walks and take a book with you!
- Roast marshmallows.
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For more information mentioned in this blog about the autumn solstice, find the sources listed below:
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