Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Archangel Michael by Raphael

 Today is Michaelmas and like many of these great days on the church calender they go largely unobserved in the folk sense other than a brief mention in the liturgy.

 A prayer to Michael the Archangel :

Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle;

be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:

and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,

by the power of God,

thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits

who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.


 It was a feast day to celebrate the Archangels and to thank God for his wonderful bounty.  

 In our ever changing and busy modern world, we no longer seem to take the time to really celebrate these Church feast days. But in the past this was not so. Feasting and making the day a celebration was common place. 

 In medieval England this day marked the end of the husbandmans year, or the agricultural year. This would have been a time of great celebration. Games, races and other events were welcomed. 

The Michaelmas Goose
 Food was obviously a large part of the festivities, being a feast day. Goose was commonly the main course of choice as well as carrots and traditional bread called Sruthan Mhìcheil or St. Michael's Bannok. 

 Children were also discouraged from eating or picking blackberries after this day, as it was believed that Lucifer fell from heaven on this day and that he landed in a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles. Versions of this exist in different parts of the isles and one version in Ireland tell that the Pooka flies about on Michaelmas night and defiles the blackberries. 

 It is my hope that someday these observances begin to find there way back into the folk life of rural communities and I hope someday to observe all the feast days of the church with the same vigor and enthusiasm as my friends in the past. 


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