Michaelmas Day

Michaelmas Day Quick Facts - GB

AKA NameFeast of Michael, Goose Day
2023 Date29 September 2023
2024 Date29 September 2024
Michaelmas Day

Michaelmas Day History

Michaelmas Day is a Christian observance honouring the archangel Michael, defender of good and slayer of evil. Observed by various Western liturgical churches, this day also acts as a commemoration of all the archangels, including Gabriel and Raphael. Michaelmas carries various customs that vary depending on the country; however, they are often associated with harvest festivals and the commencement of the financial and legal year in certain parts of Europe.

The celebration of Michaelmas has its origins in ancient Celtic and Anglo-Saxon cultures, where Michael was seen as a warrior saint battling the forces of darkness. As Christianity spread across Britain, the observance evolved, incorporating feasting and prayers to mark the occasion. In the United Kingdom, Michaelmas gained particular importance as one of the four Quarter Days when rents were due, leases began or terminated, and servants were hired or released. Over time, Michaelmas became associated with the tradition of eating a roasted goose, symbolising the prosperity and luck required for the coming year.

In the United Kingdom today, Michaelmas Day is observed on September 29th, following the Church of England calendar. While no longer a widespread public holiday, it remains significant for certain institutions, such as the legal profession and some universities. Traditional customs, such as feasting on a goose or engaging in agricultural competitions, prevail in some rural areas. Furthermore, Michaelmas daisies, delicate perennials blooming around this time, are often used as decorations to honour the event and add their colourful hues to the autumn landscape.

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Michaelmas Day References and Related Sites

www.historic-uk.com: Historic UK Michaelmas

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