The Fall Equinox celebrates the official start of the fall season! Here are 10 Fall Equinox celebrations that are perfect for the homesteader or gardener in us all!
Can you sense it? Autumn is in the air!
And it’s not just the return of pumpkin spice everything that signals the seasonal shift! Yes, you heard that right, Starbucks does not control the start of the fall season!
The beginning of the Fall season is actually marked by the equinox. The Fall Equinox marks the time of year when the hours of the day are split perfectly between light and dark (day and night). The Fall Equinox is celebrated on or around September 21st. Dates vary a little bit each year but this year (2020), it falls on September 22nd.
A Very Brief History of Fall Equinox Celebrations:
Traditionally, the start of Fall was when Thanksgiving was celebrated. In fact, the date for American Thanksgiving was originally set as October 3rd! Likewise, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
Now, if you ask me, this makes so much more sense than celebrating Thanksgiving in November! Celebrating Thanksgiving during the beginning of Fall means that you have a bounty of crops to enjoy and share. You also are able to truly celebrate the harvest season coming to a close and the change of the seasons. Everyone in favor of moving Thanksgiving back to its original date, raise your hands!
Let’s Bring Back the Fall Celebration!
Sadly, most traditional Americans don’t celebrate the Autumn Equinox or even give it more than a passing thought. However, most modern Pagan religions honor the Fall Equinox with a celebration called “Mabon”.
Mabon is known as the celebration of the second harvest. Which, again, makes a lot of sense to me! Summer crops are just about finished by this time of year. The start of fall marks the time to harvest crops such as gourds, pumpkins, grains and orchard harvests like apples. It truly is the “second harvest” time of year!
The longer I homestead, I become more attracted to Pagan holidays, like Litha, the Summer Solstice (here are ways to celebrate it!). The traditional Pagan calendar is based on the changing of the seasons. I’ve found that observing these special days makes it easier for me to connect with nature in an active way and to live more seasonally.
Regardless of what you believe, the seasons and nature truly deserve to be celebrated! Sadly, in our busy consumeristic culture, we’ve lost a lot of our connection with the natural rhythms of life.
Celebrating seasonal changes, like the Fall Equinox, is a wonderful way to take some time to slow down and truly savor all the changes happening in nature and in our lives.
10 Ways for the Homesteader to Celebrate the Fall Equinox:
Wrap up the summer garden and focus on fall plants & crops:
The Fall Equinox is nature’s way of gently reminding us that summer can’t last forever. This is a great time to start transitioning both in your mind and in your garden! Celebrate the end of the summer garden by harvesting the last of your spent summer garden plants. This is a great time to start cleaning up the garden and your gardening equipment in preparation of the cooler days. Here’s a list of 10 Fall Garden Chores to get you started!
If you live in a region with mild fall weather, consider replacing your summer crops with a fall garden! Many regions still have plenty of time to grow and harvest a great fall garden crop! Check out my Full Guide to Fall Gardening to start your fall garden!
Harvest fall crops:
This is an ideal time to harvest winter squash, apples, dried beans, elderberries, rose hips and grain crops. In fact, one of my favorite ways to celebrate Mabon is by harvesting the beautiful broom corn (Sorghum bicolor) and hanging it to dry! I also usually harvest my pumpkins and gourds on Mabon and use them decorate our home (along with eating them)!
And, of course, don’t forget to harvest some apples (or visit a local orchard) to turn into canned applesauce, apple butter and apple pie filling for winter munching! If your corn has already been harvested for the season, cut down the stalks and use them for decor around your property!
Record and organize your harvest:
While you are wrapping up your harvest, it’s a great time to take stock of what you have on hand for winter eating. Yup, that means it’s time to open up that chest freezer and dig through it! It’s also a good time to clean out your shelves and pantry! Get your home-grown and home-canned products organized so that they are easy to find and use all winter long!
To get extra organized, use the free tracking sheets in the 2020 Homestead Management Binder! The Kitchen Management section of the binder contains log sheets for your Food Preservation Inventory, Freezer Inventory, Pantry Inventory, Canned Goods Inventory, Long-Term Food Storage Inventory and Herbal Products Inventory. You can get them all for free in the Freebie Library!
Celebrate a traditional thanksgiving!
Sure, we Americans may have decided to foolishly move Thanksgiving to November, but that doesn’t need to stop you! Why not host a fall harvest feast anyways? Celebrate all the abundance of the garden while you have plenty of fresh, delicious foods!
Get your friends or family together for a delicious garden fresh meal outside while enjoying the crisp fall evenings. You can top it all off with apple pie eaten under the stars around a fire pit. Now, that’s my kind of Thanksgiving!
Hygge your home!
If you aren’t familiar with “Hygge” yet, it’s basically the Danish practice of making your home cozy! As we transition into fall, we are naturally drawn inside to the warmth. Why not make your home extra cozy this fall?
Start by giving your house a good cleaning to get it ready for fall and winter. Pull out the extra blankets, air them out and put them in areas where they are easy to grab! Fill your home with fall scents like pumpkin and apple spice. Pull out the fall decorations – it’s never too early! You can even freshen up your porch or patio so that it can be enjoyed all autumn long!
Make a scarecrow or corn doll:
Corn dollies are dolls made from corn husks. In early European pagan cultures, the corn dolly was a symbol of fertility. Displaying a corn dolly was a way to show gratefulness to Mother Earth for the fertile land and abundant harvest! Why not revive the tradition in a more modern way by making corn dolls with your extra corn husks? Here’s a full tutorial and explanation of the corn dolly tradition!
Alternatively, you can also make a scarecrow! t’s a great way to get the whole family involved too! I still remember one fall day when my mom helped my sister and I make a life-sized scarecrow using a pair of my Grandpa’s old overalls! It was so much fun, and a fall memory that I will always cherish!
Count your blessings!
If you are looking for an easy way to celebrate the Fall Equinox, this is it! Spend the day being extra observant of all of life’s blessings! Train your thoughts towards positivity by mentally noting your gratefulness for everyday blessings! For instance, even if you don’t love having to go to work every morning, we can still be grateful for our health that allows us to get out of bed, a car that runs, and a warm cup of coffee! Spending the day counting your blessings is a sure-fire way to start the new season on a fresh note of positivity!
Share the bounty:
Even if you aren’t able to host a “Thanksgiving” get-together (thanks for that 2020!), you can still share your harvest! Pack a basket of garden goodies and home-canned foods to leave on your neighbor’s porch. Or, bring in extra produce to your work site to share with your co-workers. You can even mail some delicious zucchini bread to a family member or friend who is far away! Or, check to see if your local food bank will accept donations of farm fresh veggies and eggs! Finding a few ways to share your bounty will help expand your harvest joy exponentially!
Enjoy a different side of nature:
As gardeners and homesteaders, it isn’t uncommon for us to spend ample amounts of time outside! But, if you are anything like me, you are probably too busy to truly savor it! Why not mark the Fall Equinox by taking some time to actually pause and enjoy the outdoors! Go for a nature walk somewhere special (where there aren’t chores to be done!) or go for a drive to observe the changing leaves. Taking time to enjoy nature (instead of just working in it) will help recharge your batteries for the upcoming season!
Pick up a new book:
In the “olden days” fall and winter evenings were usually spent with the entire family gathered around the hearth for both light and warmth. Storytelling was extremely common because, let’s face it, there wasn’t TikTok to stare at! Why not revive this old storytelling tradition this fall?
Pick a classic book to read – maybe something spooky like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or something nature-themed like Walden. A couple evenings a week, make special warm drink and snack and read the book aloud with your children or your significant other. Or even just cuddled up with your dog while reading! We do this every fall/winter and I look forward to it all year long!
How do you celebrate the fall season? Share with us in the comments!
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