What is Harvest Festival?
The Harvest Festival - an ancient pagan ‘thanksgiving’ festival that is now a big part of the Christian calendar still marked in schools and churches across the country - started as an ancient celebration of the annual ‘reaping of the crop’. Over time, the event has taken on a charity focus, with food (traditionally bread and fruit or veg made from the glut of farm produce) laid down as part of a large community display before being donated to those in need.
Originally Harvest Festival was called ‘Lammas’ which means ‘Loaf Mass’
Harvest Festival was originally marked religiously on ‘Lammas Day’, and one of the main customs still observed is the baking of bread for a church service on that day at the start of August. However, the name itself comes from the old English word ‘Haerfest’, which means ‘autumn’...and so many events take place through the whole season with stalls, fairs, displays, music and poems that celebrate farmers and produce grown on their land.
We plough the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land;
But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.