Skip to content

Many celebrate Michaelmas on September 29th every year, a day honoring Archangel Michael and marking the transition into autumn.

Michael, known as a protector against darkness, represents courage as the nights grow longer. This day, deeply rooted in Christian tradition, reflects themes of good overcoming evil as Michael famously battled Satan.

Michaelmas is not just a spiritual observance but also ties into the agricultural calendar, signaling the end of harvest.

This day was historically significant for settling debts and hiring servants, marking a point of new beginnings in the legal and academic calendars in places like the UK.

Traditionally, feasting on the goose, known as “Michaelmas Goose,” is central to the celebration, symbolizing prosperity and protection for the year to come.

The celebration also includes the blooming of Michaelmas daisies, adding a splash of color to the fading autumn landscape.

These flowers, along with various customs, like the last picking of blackberries, enrich the cultural fabric of Michaelmas, blending folklore with religious observance​.

History of Michaelmas

Michaelmas, celebrated on September 29th, has rich historical roots that stretch back to ancient Christian traditions.

The celebration originated in the 5th century when Pope Gelasius I designated a feast in honor of Archangel Michael. Archangel Michael is often depicted as a warrior angel defending against evil in Christian theology.

This day acknowledges Michael’s role as a symbol of good prevailing over evil and serves as a reminder of the spiritual battles Christians face.

Historically, Michaelmas also marked the end of the harvest season and was one of the four “quarter days” in the English system.

It was significant for settling debts and changing services. It coincided with hiring new servants and the beginning of legal and university terms.

The day was filled with various customs, including preparing a Michaelmas goose, which was believed to bring financial protection for the year ahead.

In addition, it was associated with folklore, such as not eating blackberries after this date, because legend had it that when Michael cast out Lucifer, he landed on a blackberry bush, cursing its fruits.

Through the centuries, Michaelmas has evolved but still holds a spot in modern religious and cultural calendars. It encapsulates themes of protection, change, and preparation for the coming darker months​.

How to Celebrate Michaelmas

Gather and Feast

One delightful way to celebrate Michaelmas is by throwing a community feast. Invite friends and family to join in and share autumnal dishes like roasted goose, which is traditionally linked to the festival.

If goose isn’t your style, any hearty meal celebrating the harvest fits the bill. This brings everyone together and connects participants with the historical harvest associated with Michaelmas.

Engage in Seasonal Crafts

For a touch of creativity, engage in crafting activities that reflect the themes of Michaelmas. Crafting dragon puppets can be fun for kids and adults to bring the symbolic protector, St. Michael, into your celebration.

Dragons are often used in Michaelmas lore to represent the overcoming of evil, which ties perfectly into the theme of the day.

Reflect and Pray

Incorporating the Saint Michael prayer into your day can add a spiritual dimension to your celebration. Like Archangel Michael, this prayer focuses on protection and battling spiritual darkness.

It’s a meaningful way to connect with the essence of the feast.

Enjoy Traditional Music and Dance

Music and dance are spirited ways to enhance any celebration, and Michaelmas is no exception. Learning a group dance or singing traditional songs together can elevate the festive atmosphere. This is a great way to make the celebration lively and inclusive.

Storytelling: Dragon Tales

Lastly, since Michaelmas often features imagery of dragons, sharing stories or plays about dragons can be both educational and entertaining.

Whether these stories involve conquering or befriending the dragons, they can teach important lessons about courage and resilience.

Also on ...

View all holidays
View all holidays

We think you may also like...