World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Michaelmas

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael
Saint Michael the Archangel
Observed by Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Lutheran Church[1]
Date September 29
Next time 29 September 2016 (2016-09-29)
Frequency annual

Michaelmas , the feast of bailiff or reeve of the manor would be making out the accounts for the year."[2]

In Christianity, the Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the Archangels and is honored for defeating Satan in the war in heaven.[3] He is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence. Michaelmas has also delineated time and seasons for secular purposes as well, particularly in Britain and Ireland as one of the quarter days.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not observe Michaelmas, except the Serbian Orthodox Church.[4] The Greek Orthodox honor the archangels on 8 November instead.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Celebration 2
    • Food 2.1
  • Differences in number of archangels 3
  • Autumn term in universities 4
  • Use by legal profession 5
  • Modern observances 6
  • Old Michaelmas Day 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

History

In the fifth century a basilica near Rome was dedicated in honour of Michael on 30 September, beginning with celebrations on the eve of that day, and 29 September is now kept in honour of Michael and all Angels throughout the western Church.[5]

During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas, or the Feast of St. Michael, was celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation, but this tradition was abolished in the 18th century.[6] Lutheran Christians consider it a principal feast of Christ, and the Lutheran Confessor, Philip Melanchthon, wrote a hymn for the day that is still sung in Lutheran churches: "Lord God to Thee We Give".

Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated in the northern hemisphere with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days. It was also one of the English, Welsh and Irish quarter days when accounts had to be settled. On manors, it was the day when a reeve was elected from the peasants.[7] Michaelmas hiring fairs were held at the end of September or beginning of October.[8]

Michaelmas means "Michael sent". If Michael was the one sent to address the shepherds on the night of Christ's birth - and it was on September 29th, then count back 278 days. That is the ideal length of human gestation, and it will fall on December 25th. So it may be that our traditional Christmas date is actually the date of Christ's conception.

Celebration

On the Isle of Skye, Scotland, a procession was held.[6] Many of the activities that had been done at Lughnasadh – sports, games and horse races – migrated to this day.[9] One of the few flowers left around at this time of year is the Michaelmas daisy. Hence the rhyme: "The Michaelmas daisies, among dead weeds, Bloom for St Michael's valorous deeds ..."[8]

Food

Traditional meal for the day includes goose (a "stubble-goose", i.e. one prepared around harvest time).

The custom of baking a special bread, called Struan Micheil, on the eve of the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel probably originated in the Hebrides. The bread was made from equal parts of barley, oats, and rye. In remembrance of absent friends or those who had died, special Struans, blessed at an early morning Mass, were given to the poor in their names.[10] Nuts were traditionally cracked on Michaelmas Eve.[11]

In northern Scotland and Ireland, a special cake called St Michael's bannock, or Michaelmas Bannock (also known as a Struan) was baked without using any metal implements.[9]

Folklore in the British Isles suggests that Michaelmas day is the last day that blackberries can be picked. It is said that when St. Michael expelled Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, and stamped and spat on them, so that they would be unfit for eating. As it is considered ill-advised to eat them after 29 September, a Michaelmas pie is made from the last of the season.

Differences in number of archangels

In Anglican and Episcopal tradition, there are three or four archangels in its calendar for 29 September feast for St. Michael and All Angels: namely Michael, Gabriel and Raphael,[5] and often, Uriel.[12][13][14][15] The Bible itself identifies only Michael as "the archangel" (Jude:9).

Autumn term in universities

It is used in the extended sense of autumn, as the name of the first term of the academic year, which begins at this time, at various educational institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[7] These are typically those with lengthy history and traditions, notably the Universities of, Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, King's College London, University of King's College, Aberystwyth, Dublin, Glasgow, Kent and the London School of Economics.

Use by legal profession

The Inns of Court of the English Bar and the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Ireland also have a Michaelmas term as one of their dining terms. It begins in September and ends towards the end of December.

The term is also the name of the first of four terms into which the legal year is divided by the courts of Wales and England.[16]

In both the United Kingdom and in the United States, a Red Mass is traditionally convened on the Sunday closest to Michaelmas, in honor of and to bless lawyers and judges.

Modern observances

Blue Mass

Because Saint Michael is the patron of some North American police officers, Michaelmas may also be a Blue Mass.[17]

Michaelmas is still celebrated in the Waldorf schools, which celebrate it as the "festival of strong will" during the autumnal equinox. Rudolf Steiner considered it the second most important festival after Easter, Easter being about Christ ("He is laid in the grave and He has risen"). Michaelmas is about man once he finds Christ ("He is risen, therefore he can be laid in the grave"), meaning man finds the Christ (risen), therefore he will be safe in death (laid in the grave with confidence)[18]

Old Michaelmas Day

Old Michaelmas Day falls on 11 October (10 October according to some sources). According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date. This is because, so folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. In Yorkshire, it is said that the devil had spat on them. According to Morrell (1977), this old legend is well known in all parts of the United Kingdom, even as far north as the Orkney Islands. In Cornwall, a similar legend prevails, however, the saying goes that the devil urinated on them.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ George C. Homans, English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century, 2nd ed. 1991:354.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b c
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Episcopal Church, Standing Liturgical Commission. The proper for the lesser feasts and fasts: together with the fixed holy days, Church Hymnal Corp., 1988, ISBN 978-0-89869-214-3. p. 380
  14. ^
  15. ^ [1] Archived May 11, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

Further reading

  • Morrell, P. (1977). Festivals and Customs. London: Pan (Piccolo). ISBN 0-330-25215-1

External links

  • Alice's Medieval Feasts & Fasts: Michaelmas
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Gabriel the Archangel
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Raphael the Archangel
  • Prayers Dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel
  • Michael and All Angels
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.