Michaelmas began as a harvest festival in the Middle Ages.
This feast honors the archangel Michael, who is a a figure common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is a symbol of good triumphing over evil, courage over cowardice. The celebration of this holiday teaches the importance of facing fears and strengthening resolve.
Michaelmas falls near the autumn equinox, marking the end of the harvest and the summer. Although the weather still tends to be warm in our part of the world, the seasons will soon begin to change, and the days grow ever shorter. This shift marks a time of turning inward, a time of gathering strength to face the growing darkness.
The Michaelmas story depicts a terrifying and destructive dragon that is tamed by the people of a town who look to St. Michael for guidance and courage. This story is that is relatable to all people - we all face difficulties in life, both internal and external, and somehow we must find the courage and strength to prevail. We celebrate Michaelmas to remind ourselves of this universal truth.
During our Michaelmas celebration, we enjoy the children singing to tell the story of Michaelmas, participating in indigo dyeing, cooking together over a fire, and feasting potluck-style.