The harvest season began of course back in August with the harvesting of the corn at which point we gave thanks to our Celtic ancestors for the festival of Lughnasadh (see earlier blog). The later Saxons brought with them the festival of Hlaefmass meaning 'loaf festival' where the loaf made from the first cut of the corn was crumbled and placed in the four corners of the barn to ensure a fruitful harvest in the year to come and to protect the gathered crops.
When Christianity came to these islands the festival soon died out as it was seen as having nothing to do with the life of Christ. Therefore the church remained without such a festival until the year 1843 when the Reverend Hawker, the eccentric Vicar of Morwenstowe church high up on the North Cornish coast, reinstated the festival following a fruitful harvest after several years of failed crops, in order to give thanks to God.
As we sit down at our tables laden with food this autumn consider offering a silent word of thanks not only to our Celtic and Saxon ancestors but also to the Reverend Hawker for reinstating an ancient and worthwhile festival