Ah, Michaelmas!  Such is the name of the traditional Feast of St. Michael the Archangel celebrated on September 29th.  Our family has a great devotion to St. Michael, most particularly due to the great devotion our young son, Galahad has shown since early childhood.

Galahad is convinced that St. Michael is his personal Guardian Angel. He speaks with such conviction, that we don’t question his belief.

Our celebration this year will incorporate the traditional Michaelmas bonfire.  The recent storm left us with a lot of downed branches that will feed our fire.  The cool temperatures and early dusk should make for a cozy evening around the fire.  Alas, I don’t have a goose for dinner, so it looks like we’ll be having those mallard breasts instead!  I’m trying my hand at an Irish Bannock this year…the rye and barley of the Michaelmas Bannock just doesn’t appeal to the little ones.

Don’t forget to check out Catholic Cuisine for additional recipes and traditions associated with the Holy Angels.

Here are a few of the more interesting quotes I’ve run across.  The traditions and folklore associated with this wonderful feast are simply fascinating…enjoy!

At Michaelmas time, or a little before,
Half an apple goes to the core;
At Christmas time, or a little after,
A crab in the hedge,
And thanks to the rafter.
Traditional English proverb

And when the tenauntes come
To paie their quarter’s rent,
They bring some fowle at Midsummer,
A dish of fish in Lent,
At Christmas a capon,
At Michaelmas, a goose,
And somewhat else at New-yere’s tide
For feare the lease flie loose.
George Gascoigne, English poet, 1575

So many days the moon is old on St Michael’s day, so many floods after.
Traditional English weather marker

Harvest comes as long before Michaelmas as dog roses bloom before Midsummer.
Traditional English weather marker

On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.
Traditional northern Irish proverb

St Michael’s rain does not stay long in the sky.
Traditional French proverb

If it does not rain on St Michael’s and Gallus [Oct 16], a dry spring is indicated for the next year.
Traditional English proverb

If you eat goose on Michaelmas Day, you will not be short of money all year round.
Traditional English proverb

A Michaelmas rot comes ne’er in the pot.
Traditional English proverb

If St Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.
Traditional English proverb

Michaelmas chickens and parsons’ daughters never come to good.
Traditional English proverb

Three things that never come to any good: Christmas pigs, Michaelmas fowls, and parsons’ daughters.
Traditional English proverb

Tavistock Goosey Fair Song

‘Tis just a month come Friday next,
Bill Champernowne and me,
Us went across old Dartymoor
The Goosey Fair to see.
Us made usselves right vitty,
Us shaved and grazed our hair,
And off us goes in our Zunday clothes
Behind Bill’s old grey mare.
Us smelt the zage and onion
‘Alf a mile from Whitchurch Down,
And didn’t us ‘ave a blow out
When us put up in the town,
And there us met Ned Hannaford,
Jan Steer and Nicky Square,
I think that all the world must be
At Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Chorus:
And its oh, and where be a-going,
And what be a-doing of there,
Heave down your prong and stamp along,
To Tavistock Goosey Fair.

2. Us went to see the ‘osses
And the ‘effers and the yaws,
Us went on all them roundabouts
And into all the shows,
And then it started raining
And blowing in our face,
So off us goes down to the Rose
To ‘ave a dish of tay.
And then us had a sing song
And the folks kept dropping in,
And what with one an’ t’other,
Well, us had a drop of gin,
And what with one an’ t’other,
Us didn’t seem to care,
Whether us was to Bellever Tor
Or Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Chorus:

3. ‘Twere raining streams and dark as pitch
When us trotted ‘ome that night,
An’ when us got past Merrivale Bridge,
Our mare, ‘er took a fright,
Says I to Bill, “Be careful,
You’ll ‘ave us in them drains,”
Says ‘e to me, “Cor bugger,” says ‘e,
“Why ‘aven’t you got the reins,”
Just then the mare ran slap against
A whacking gurt big stone,
‘Er kicked the trap to flibbits
And ‘er trotted off alone,
And when it come to reckoning,
‘Tweren’t no use standing there,
Us ‘ad to traipse ‘ome thirteen mile
From Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Chorus: