Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Harvest Season and Erntfescht

It has been a busy summer, which, of course, makes it a little less difficult to make regular posts to this site!

Many of us are currently in the midst of the harvest. After a slow start, things like the passionflower are growing like crazy and are beginning to produce fruit. 

There are many other herbs that are ready for a first, second, or even third harvest. This coming weekend, Urglaawer and many practitioners of Braucherei and Hexerei will observe the Erntfescht or Erntdankfescht, which is the original Deitsch day of thanksgiving for the bounty of the harvest. This observance was so deeply engrained in the Deitsch culture that many people resented the creation of the national Thankgiving holiday.

The national holiday is in danger of being eclipsed by the consumer frenzy of Black Friday, so perhaps we can take advantage of the historical roots of Erntfescht. Regardless of one's religious identity, ethnicity, or climate, we can all tap into the spirit of gratefulness for --- or at least appreciation of --- the bounty we have in our lives.

I want to encourage everyone to take part in this very important observance.

If you have folks nearby with whom to celebrate, then come together at or around the autumn equinox and have a feast. Give offerings of the land to the deity of deities of your choice, share and swap harvested food (store purchases are fine) or seeds, and take up a food drive, no matter how large or small.

If observing alone, a donation of any sort to a food pantry or an animal shelter would be appropriate.
All of us should recount the blessings we have in our lives and to share in those blessings with others.

Hail to the Harvest!

Parsons, William T. Pennsylvania Germans – A Persistent Minority. Collegeville, PA: Keschte Bicher, 1976. 

Yoder, Don. "Harvest Home." Pennsylvania Folklife v. 9 no. 4, pp. 2- 11. Lancaster, PA:The Pennsylvania Folklife Society, Fall 1958. 

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