Today is Michaelmas, a feast day in the Christian world for the archangel Michael. It was once a very important day in the year, but now is hardly even noticed.

Because it occurred near the equinox which initiates the darkening of our days (in the northern hemisphere) and the end of the harvest, it was important in farmers’ real life calendar year. Farmers needed to make some important decisions about which animals could be fed through the winter and which ones would need to be sold or slaughtered.

If you survived by fishing, that season was probably ending. But it is the beginning of hunting season.

I wrote about Michaelmas earlier and why you don’t eat blackberries after “Old Michaelmas Day” (which occurs in October).

Michaelmas was once the day in England for settling rents and accounts for farmers, which required having your harvest in and sold or the sale of livestock.

michaelmas-daisyWant to celebrate with a traditional Michaelmas meal? Then a roast stubble goose would be the meal.  That was once a commoner’s fancy meal, but today a roast goose would qualify as a luxury.

You might want to pick a bouquet of asters, also known as Michaelmas daisies. they are perennial flowers that usually bloom in late summer or fall in clusters of white, blue, deep purple (the traditional Michaelmas color) or pink with a center of gold. They are easy to grow, carefree plants.

Add to this a bit of literary trivia: Because it is the feast of Saint Michael, it is also marked as the birthday of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote and Spain’s greatest literary figure. Cervantes’s exact date of birth is unknown, although it was the custom in Spain to name a baby for the feast day on which he was born, and given that Cervantes was baptized just 10 days later, on October 9th, it is probable that today was his birthday.