September is the ninth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days. Its name comes from the Latin septem, meaning 'seven'. September later became the ninth month when the ancient Romans moved the beginning of their year from March 1 to January 1.
September gives us the last whisperings of summer before the Autumn creeps in.
While some summer fruit and vegetables are still in their prime, they're also joined by the incoming autumnal fare.
Festivals are held all over Britain at the end of the summer to celebrate the bringing-in of the crops. The gathering of the harvest has been celebrated for centuries around the world in the form of harvest festivals or by giving thanks at Thanksgiving celebrations.
The United Kingdom ~ Harvest Festival - September
Canada ~ Thanksgiving - October
USA ~ Thanksgiving - November
In British churches, chapels and schools, people bring in food from the garden, the allotment or farm. The food is often distributed among the poor and senior citizens of the local community. In the USA and Canada, the festival is set on a certain day and has become a National Holiday known as Thanksgiving. In North America it has become a national secular holiday with religious origins, but in Britain it remains a Church festival giving thanks to God for the harvest.
Harvest is from an Anglo-Saxon word 'haerfest' which meant 'Autumn.' The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest Moon. So in ancient traditions Harvest Festivals were traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. This moon is the full moon which falls in the month of September.
During the Harvest Festival the churches are often decorated with intricately woven straw decorations known as corn dollies. It was once believed that a spirit lived in the cornfield and died when the corn was cut. A 'corn dolly' was plaited from the last sheaf of corn thereby providing a resting place for the corn spirit and ensuring the continuity of the harvest the following year.
In the early days, there were ceremonies and rituals at the beginning as well as at the end of the harvest.
The Church bells could be heard on each day of the harvest. The horse which brought the last cart load, was decorated with garlands of flowers and colourful ribbons. And a magnificent Harvest feast was held at the farmer's house and games played to celebrate the end of the harvest.
Aster is the September birth flower. Asters have a flower meaning of Love, Faith, Wisdom and Good luck. Asters are also known as Starworts, Frost flowers or Michaelmas Daisies, the name aster is derived from the word of Greek meaning 'star'.
According to one legend, the field bloomed with asters when Virgo scattered stardust on the earth. Another claimed that the Goddess Asterea began to cry when she looked down upon the earth and saw no stars. The asters bloomed where her tears fell.
Asters are daisy-like in appearance, and come in purples, lavenders, blues, robust red, white, and a variety of pinks. Aster flowers provide a beautiful addition to a fall flower garden.