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Monday, 31 October 2016

Harvest and Hallowe’en by Susan Sanderson


Having been assigned the 31st as my date to post something here, I realised immediately that the date is a controversial one in October.  Celebrations of Hallowe’en are regarded with anything ranging from acceptance to horror by different Churches and individual members of the Church.  Merchandise connected with Hallowe’en appears in shops before the start of the autumn term.  More and more families and businesses are putting up decorations.  Here in the UK it is not as prevalent as in the USA, but it is growing.

By 31st October many churches will have celebrated a Harvest Festival or Harvest Thanksgiving.  There is no set date for this.  It is not a Red Letter Day.  By contrast Hallowe’en can be placed in the Church's calendar.  It is the day before All Saints’ Day.

Celebrating and giving thanks for the Harvest is a long tradition.  In the lands where the Bible stories were lived out there were harvests of different crops at different times of year.  In the story of Ruth harvests of different crops (and their failure) form the backdrop.

I live in a village surrounded by farms; harvest is an important part of life.  It is hardly surprising that Harvest Festival is one of the best attended services.  This year the Reader, who gave the address at our service, mentioned a crop, which may not be well-known in drier parts of the country.

The expression make hay, while the sun shines is all very well, but where the land is often soaked by the damp (very wet) weather from the Gulf Stream, hay has been replaced by silage as a fodder crop.  As I understand it silage is made from grass, which has not been dried out fully to make hay.  It is partly rotted by the time the animals eat it and has a distinctive, rather sweet, smell.  I had decided before Harvest Festival, that my photo for this post would be of some novelty silage sacks at a farm.

When I was close enough to take my photo, I could read the name of the supplier of the sacks.  Carrs Billington had been running a competition on Facebook and raising money for a charity for sick children – WellChild – through these novelty sacks.  (Last year there were some pink sacks for a Breast Cancer charity.)

Novelty silage sacks
October has brought our thoughts to Harvest and God’s good gifts to us and to his creatures.

Now it is Hallowe’en.  Do you expect any Trick or Treaters to call?  How will you treat them, if they do?  

I know this is something I am not good at.  Some people might give them home-grown apples as an alternative to the sweets they expect.  Other options are specially produced leaflets with a perhaps a puzzle and  a Christian message.  I might have some Messy Church leaflets to hand out.  It is likely that children tell their friends, where they would be welcomed. 

Personally I’d prefer October to be remembered for Harvest, but the majority of people are likely to think of Hallowe’en first.



Susan always wanted to be a writer.  In 2012 she revived her interest in writing with a project to collect the kinds of sayings, which were much used in her childhood.
Blogging was intended as a way of improving writing skills, but has become an interest in its own right.  Susan experiments with factual writing, fiction, humour and poetry.  She does not yet have a book to her name. Her interests include words, languages, music, knitting and crochet.  She has experience of the world of work, being a stay-at-home mum and an empty-nester.   She is active in her local community and Church, where she sings alto in the choir. She and her husband live in the north of England

Follow her on Twitter @suesconsideredt


2 comments:

  1. I agree with you, Susan. The church in our village was always full for this event when I was a child. I'm really sad that our town church does nothing at all for it. I know we can thank God at anytime but it doesn't hurt to be specific does it? As for Halloween, the best I can say about it is that it is in fact, the evening of All Saints Day, a better memory.

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  2. Thank you for commenting. The question is, what can we (as writers) do to restore the balance?

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