history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with
the establishment of formal religions many ancient farmers believed
that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow
and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the
crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take
revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest
festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits.
festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient
Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese and the Egyptians.
ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Their goddess of
corn (actually all grains) was Demeter who
was honored at the festival of Thesmosphoria
held each autumn.
the first day of the festival married women (possibility connecting
childbearing and the raising of crops) would build leafy shelters
and furnish them with couches made with plants. On the second day
they fasted. On the third day a feast was held and offerings to the
goddess Demeter were made - gifts of seed corn, cakes, fruit, and
pigs. It was hoped that Demeter's gratitude would grant them a good
Romans also celebrated a harvest festival called Cerelia,
which honored Ceres their goddess of corn
(from which the word cereal comes). The festival was held each year
on October 4th and offerings of the first fruits of the harvest and
pigs were offered to Ceres. Their celebration included music,
parades, games and sports and a thanksgiving feast.
ancient Chinese celebrated their harvest festival,
Ch'ui, with the full moon that fell on the 15th day of
the 8th month. This day was considered the birthday of the moon and
special "moon cakes", round and yellow like the moon, would be baked.
Each cake was stamped with the picture of a rabbit - as it was a
rabbit, not a man, which the Chinese saw on the face of the moon.
families ate a thanksgiving meal and feasted on roasted pig,
harvested fruits and the "moon cakes". It was believed that during
the 3 day festival flowers would fall from the moon and those who
saw them would be rewarded with good fortune.
to legend Chung Ch'ui also gave thanks for another special occasion.
China had been conquered by enemy armies who took control of the
Chinese homes and food. The Chinese found themselves homeless and
with no food. Many staved. In order to free themselves they decided
to attack the invaders.
women baked special moon cakes which were distributed to every
family. In each cake was a secret message which contained the time
for the attack. When the time came the invaders were surprised and
easily defeated. Every year moon cakes are eaten in memory of this
families also celebrate a harvest festival called
Sukkoth. Taking place each autumn, Sukkoth has been
celebrated for over 3000 years.
Sukkoth is know by 2 names - Hag ha Succot
- the Feast of the Tabernacles and Hag ha Asif
- the Feast of Ingathering. Sukkoth begins on the 15th day of the
Hebrew month of Tishri, 5 days after
the most solemn day of the Jewish year.
is named for the huts (succots) that Moses and the Israelites lived
in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the
Promised Land. These huts were made of branches and were easy to
assemble, take apart, and carry as the Israelites wandered through
celebrating Sukkoth, which lasts for 8 days, the Jewish people build
small huts of branches which recall the tabernacles of their
ancestors. These huts are constructed as temporary shelters, as the
branches are not driven into the ground and the roof is covered with
foliage which is spaced to let the light in. Inside the huts are
hung fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, corn, and
pomegranates. On the first 2 nights of Sukkoth the families eat
their meals in the huts under the evening sky.
ancient Egyptians celebrated their harvest festival in honor of
Min, their god of vegetation and fertility.
The festival was held in the springtime, the Egyptian's harvest
festival of Min featured a parade in which the Pharaoh took part.
After the parade a great feast was held. Music, dancing, and sports
were also part of the celebration.
the Egyptian farmers harvested their corn, they wept and pretended
to be grief-stricken. This was to deceive the spirit which they
believed lived in the corn. They feared the spirit would become
angry when the farmers cut down the corn where it lived.
The United States
1621, after a hard and devastating first year in the New World the
Pilgrim's fall harvest was very successful and plentiful. There was
corn, fruits, vegetables, along with fish which was packed in salt,
and meat that was smoke cured over fires. They found they had enough
food to put away for the winter.
Pilgrims had beaten the odds. They built homes in the wilderness,
they raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming
winter, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. Their
Governor, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving that
was to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native
custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the
harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution
(late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the
1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By
the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a
Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a
national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a
Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth
Thursday of each November as the holiday.
in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Observance
of the day began in 1879.
Please find the words hidden in this game. They are
not only vertical and horizontal, but in all directions so search them very carefully.