Today marks the first day of autumn, the end of summer in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of a season of harvest rich in folklore and sensory delights.
It’s a time of harvest moons and corn moons, chilly days and nights, the smell of bonfires, the beauty of maple trees and the crunch of fallen leaves. School bells ring again after a hot summer vacation. Schoolyards are full of children and yellow school buses drive through streets covered in red, orange and yellow leaves.
The roar of cheers from nearby high school football stadiums joins the symphony of autumn with its chorus of crickets, cicadas and rustling leaves. Bonfires and burning leaves are the incense of the season. The woody smell of nature and October rain add to its sensory potpourri.
Autumn brings with it a celebration of death with ghosts, vampires and other nightly creatures filling our dreams and our streets on Halloween.
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In ancient times, Sept. 29 marked the season of Michaelmas or the feast of Michael and All Angels. Harvest needed to be completed and debts paid off by this date.
Old Michaelmas day falls on Oct. 10. Folklore has it that this was the day Lucifer fell from heaven. In his fall, Lucifer landed on a blackberry bush and thereby cursed the fruit. Superstition and folklore have that as the reason why you shouldn’t eat blackberries picked after that date.
This bit of folklore is also backed by scientific facts. Blackberries are not safe to eat after this point as they become mildewed and rotten. Yet it was deemed good practice in the early days to put blackberry bushes by your door to ward off vampires.
As the autumnal equinox is a day when both light and darkness are equal, there is good and bad to the season.
Apples, pumpkins and root vegetables ripen during this time which adds to the sensory delights of the season.
But apple trees blossoming in autumn means a death in the house of whoever owns the fated tree. Also, be careful of flowers blooming in autumn. It means there will be an epidemic of disease in the coming year. In Scotland, blooming white roses in the fall means a death in the family, however, red roses meant a marriage was on the way.
This is a time of heavenly scents like pumpkin spice, apple cider cinnamon, burning leaves and popcorn.
Hayrides through country roads and farmland add to the wonders of the season.
Get out and enjoy this time as the season that follows will be much harsher.