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Assembly Title

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To learn about some harvest traditions
To hear about Saint Michael the Archangel

Faith Group

A loaf of bread, maybe in the shape of a wheatsheaf

Time of Year
Michaelmas Day 29th September

1. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today is Michaelmas Day. It is September 29th, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel.

2. Michael is the angel who threw the Devil out of Heaven.
This is what happened.

3. We usually think of angels as good, but at one time there were some bad angels. They thought they were more important than God. They were led by a very bad angel, now known as the Devil.

4. An angel called Michael threw these bad angels out of Heaven. They went to a place of their own, now called Hell - with the Devil as their leader.

5. In pictures, Michael is shown holding a flaming sword in his hand.
By tradition, Michael protects good people from evil. He stands up for God and looks after the Church. Nowadays, Michael is one of the most popular names for boys.

6. Today, Michaelmas, is also traditionally the last day of the harvest season. The harvest season, when farmers gather in their crops, used to begin on August 1st and end on September 29th.

7. There are many traditions and ceremonies connected with the harvest season. Many of these are hundreds of years old.
Some started before people knew about Christ.

8. The first day of the harvest season, August 1st, is called Lammas. This means "loaf Mass". About 500 years ago, farmers used to make their new wheat into loaves of bread which they gave to their local church.
These loaves were used as the Communion bread during a special Mass thanking God for the harvest.

9. The custom died out when Henry VIII. was king, because he was against the Catholic Church.
Nowadays, we have harvest festivals, at the end of the season. Often, in pride of place, there is a loaf of bread in the shape of a wheatsheaf.

10. At the end of the harvest season. farmers celebrate. They are happy that their hard work is over. They have a big meal called a harvest supper.

11. This meal used to be eaten on Michaelmas Day. It was a big meal like a Christmas dinner. Turkeys were not known about, so a goose stuffed with apples was eaten.
Some places in England still have "goose fairs" at the end of September, but geese are not usually sold at them now.

12. And now a word of warning! You should not eat blackberries after today. The Devil is supposed to have spat on them when he was thrown out of Heaven on Michaelmas!

13. There are many other harvest customs, many to do with corn and bread.
Maybe you could find out about them.

14. God our Father, in this lovely season of autumn, our farmers are coming to the end of their reaping and gathering. Help us to remember that without you nothing would grow. Help us to be grateful and share your gifts. Amen.

15. We will now sing "Autumn Days" by Estelle White. (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 61)

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 15-7-12.