There are two great feasts that mirror each other across the calendar at the times of the equinoxes. Around spring equinox (with its corresponding holidays of Easter, Passover, and Naw-Ruz), we enjoy the first fruits of the season: fresh greens, eggs, cheese, lamb. At the time of the autumn equinox (with its adjacent festivals of Sukkot and Michaelmas), we enjoy the fruits of the harvest.
This year’s autumn equinox will occur on September 23. Depending on where we live, we might be harvesting the last tomatoes or the first pumpkins, sweet corn or succulent apples, ripe grapes or ripe grain. This is also a time to celebrate the transformation mysteries as fruit, grain, and grapes are transformed into cider, bread, wine, and beer.
You can take this moment in time, when the light and dark are equally balanced, to explore the metaphors as they apply to your life. Where are you finding balance? What has come to fruition? What needs to be transformed? What mysteries are you celebrating?
But I also recommend enjoying these metaphors literally with a feast. Here are some ideas:
- Recreate a menu that your ancestors would have enjoyed at this time of the year.
- Create a harvest dinner based on what you have grown in your garden.
- Prepare a seasonal meal with items purchased at a local farmer’s market.
- Concoct a feast with foodstuffs harvested within your local foodshed (however you define that).
- Invite guests to a potluck and have them bring an item that represents their wishes for the year ahead or an accomplishment from the past nine months.
I’m sure you can think of other ideas, and I would love to hear them.
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”
Order your 2016 calendars now!
For the foodie on your list…