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Harvest Festival

  • Posted on November 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Thanksgiving found its roots from the pilgrim’s tradition of the harvest festival.

The harvest festival in Britain

Harvest is from the Old English word hærfest, meaning “autumn” It then came to refer to the season for reaping and gathering grain and other grown products. The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest Moon. So in ancient traditions Harvest Festivals were traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon.

Customs and traditions

An early harvest festival used to be celebrated at the beginning of the harvest season on 1 August and was called Lammas, meaning ‘loaf Mass’. The Latin prayer to hallow the bread is given in the Durham Ritual. Farmers made loaves of bread from the fresh wheat crop. These were given to the local church as the Communion bread during a special service thanking God for the harvest.

By the sixteenth century a number of customs seem to have been firmly established around the gathering of the final harvest. They include the reapers accompanying a fully laden cart; a tradition of shouting “Hooky, hooky”; and one of the foremost reapers dressing extravagantly, acting as ‘lord’ of the harvest and asking for money from the onlookers. A play by Thomas Nashe, Summer’s Last Will and Testament, (first published in London in 1600 but believed from internal evidence to have been first performed in October 1592 at Croydon) contains a scene which demonstrates several of these features. There is a character personifying harvest who comes on stage attended by men dressed as reapers; he refers to himself as their “master” and ends the scene by begging the audience for a “largesse”. The scene is clearly inspired by contemporary harvest celebrations, and singing and drinking feature largely. The stage instruction reads:

“Enter Haruest with a sythe on his neck, & all his reapers with siccles, and a great black bowle with a posset in it borne before him: they come in singing.”

The song which follows may be an actual harvest song, or a creation of the author’s intended to represent a typical harvest song of the time:

Merry, merry, merry, cheary, cheary, cheary,
Trowle the black bowle to me ;
Hey derry, derry, with a poupe and a lerry,
Ile trowle it againe to thee:

Hooky, hooky, we haue shorne,
And we haue bound,
And we haue brought Haruest
Home to towne.

The shout of “hooky, hooky” appears to be one traditionally associated with the harvest celebration. The last verse is repeated in full after the character Harvest remarks to the audience “Is your throat cleare to helpe us sing hooky, hooky?” and a stage direction adds, “Heere they all sing after him”. Also, in 1555 in Archbishop Parker’s translation of Psalm 126 occur the lines:

“He home returnes: wyth hocky cry,
With sheaues full lade abundantly.”

In some parts of England “Hoakey” or “Hawkie” (the word is spelled variously) became the accepted name of the actual festival itself:

“Hoacky is brought
Home with hallowing
Boys with plum-cake
The Cart following”.

Another widespread tradition was the distribution of a special cake to the celebrating farmworkers. A prose work of 1613 refers to the practice as predating the Reformation. Describing the character of a typical farmer, it says:

“Rocke Munday..Christmas Eve, the hoky, or seed cake, these he yeerely keepes, yet holds them no reliques of popery.”

Early English settlers took the idea of harvest thanksgiving to North America. The most famous one is the harvest Thanksgiving held by the Pilgrims in 1621.
National Harvest Thanksgiving ceremony in Poland’s Jasna Góra Roman Catholic sanctuary in Częstochowa, Poland.
Presidential Harvest Festival in Spała, Poland

Nowadays the festival is held at the end of harvest, which varies in different parts of Britain. Sometimes neighbouring churches will set the Harvest Festival on different Sundays so that people can attend each other’s thanksgivings.

Until the 20th century most farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called the harvest supper, to which all who had helped in the harvest were invited. It was sometimes known as a “Mell-supper”, after the last patch of corn or wheat standing in the fields which was known as the “Mell” or “Neck”. Cutting it signified the end of the work of harvest and the beginning of the feast. There seems to have been a feeling that it was bad luck to be the person to cut the last stand of corn. The farmer and his workers would race against the harvesters on other farms to be first to complete the harvest, shouting to announce they had finished. In some counties the last stand of corn would be cut by the workers throwing their sickles at it until it was all down, in others the reapers would take it in turns to be blindfolded and sweep a scythe to and fro until all of the Mell was cut down.

Some churches and villages still have a Harvest Supper. The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Victorian hymns such as “We plough the fields and scatter”, “Come ye thankful people, come” and “All things bright and beautiful” but also Dutch and German harvest hymns in translation helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service. Another early adopter of the custom as an organised part of the Church of England calendar was Rev. Piers Claughton at Elton, Huntingdonshire in or about 1854.

As British people have come to rely less heavily on home-grown produce, there has been a shift in emphasis in many Harvest Festival celebrations. Increasingly, churches have linked Harvest with an awareness of and concern for people in the developing world for whom growing crops of sufficient quality and quantity remains a struggle. Development and Relief organisations often produce resources for use in churches at harvest time which promote their own concerns for those in need across the globe.

In the early days, there were ceremonies and rituals at the beginning as well as at the end of the harvest.

Encyclopædia Britannica traces the origins to “the animistic belief in the corn [grain] spirit or corn mother.” In some regions the farmers believed that a spirit resided in the last sheaf of grain to be harvested. To chase out the spirit, they beat the grain to the ground. Elsewhere they wove some blades of the cereal into a “corn dolly” that they kept safe for “luck” until seed-sowing the following year. Then they plowed the ears of grain back into the soil in hopes that this would bless the new crop.

  • Church bells could be heard on each day of the harvest.
  • A corn dolly was made from the last sheaf of corn harvested. The corn dolly often had a place of honour at the banquet table, and was kept until the following spring.
  • In Cornwall, the ceremony of Crying The Neck was practiced. Today it is still re-enacted annually by The Old Cornwall Society.
  • The horse, bringing the last cart load, was decorated with garlands of flowers and colourful ribbons.
  • A magnificent Harvest feast was held at the farmer’s house and games played to celebrate the end of the harvest.
  • Harvest is celebrated by many people but in Christianity, it is widely looked at in schools, and focused on in church.
  • Harvest is mainly associated with fruit and vegetables, for which we give thanks. This is the whole point of the Harvest Festival.

Harvest festival. (2013, November 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:22, November 25, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Harvest_festival&oldid=579925918

The Positive Side of Life

  • Posted on July 30, 2013 at 3:44 am

Some emails are to precious not to share. I did not choose the pictures, they came with the message. THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE: Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year. How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you’re on. Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live. Happiness comes through doors you didn’t even know you left open. Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for…

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Urgent Recall

  • Posted on June 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Urgent Recall Notice

The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units’ code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality, ‘ or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some of the symptoms include:

  1. Loss of direction
  2. Foul vocal emissions
  3. Amnesia of origin
  4. Lack of peace and joy
  5. Selfish or violent behavior
  6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
  7. Fearfulness
  8. Idolatry
  9. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.

The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers’ Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility.

Thank you for your attention!

Signed,

GOD

P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by ‘Knee mail.’


“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.”:Gen George S. Patton
“For true Patriots to be silent, is dangerous.”:Samuel Adams
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”:Americans

Horse Power

  • Posted on May 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Martin Clunes: HorsePower – The Amazing Tricks

Our Life compare we with their length of dayes

  • Posted on May 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Our Life compare we with their length of dayes

Contemplations

Our Life compare we with their length of dayes,
Who to the tenth of theirs doth now arrive?
And though thus short, we shorten many ways,
Living so little while we are alive;
In eating, drinking, sleeping, vain delight,
So unawares comes on perpetual night,
And puts all pleasures vain unto eternal flight.

When I behold the heavens as in their prime,
And then the earth (though old) still clad in green,
The stones and trees, insensible of time,
Nor age nor wrinkle on their front are seen;
If winter come, and greenness then do fade,
A Spring returns, and they more youthful made;
But Man grows old, lies down, remains where once he ’s laid.

By birth more noble than those creatures all,
Yet seems by nature and by custome cursed,
No sooner born, but grief and care make fall
That state obliterate he had at first.
Nor youth, nor strength, nor wisdom spring again,
Nor habitations long their names retain,
But in oblivion to the final day remain.

Shall I then praise the heavens, the trees, the earth,
Because their beauty and their strength last longer?
Shall I wish their, or never to had birth,
Because they’re bigger, and their bodyes stronger?
Nay, they shall darken, perish, fade and dye,
And when unmade, soever shall they lye,
But man was made for endless immortality.

Under the cooling shadow of a stately elm
Close sate I by a goodly River’s side,
Where gliding streams the rocks did overwhelm;
A lonely place, with pleasures dignified.
I once that lov’d the shady woods so well,
Now thought the rivers did the trees excell,
And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.

While on the stealing stream I fixt mine eye,
Which to the long’d-for Ocean held its course,
I markt nor crooks, nor rubs that there did lye
Could hinder aught, but still augment its force:
O happy Flood, quoth I, that holdst thy race
Till thou arrive at thy beloved place,
Nor is it rocks or shoals that can obstruct thy pace.

Nor is ’t enough, that thou alone may’st slide,
But hundred brooks in thy cleer waves do meet,
So hand in hand along with thee they glide
To Thetis’ house, where all embrace and greet:
Thou Emblem true, of what I count the best,
O could I lead my Rivulets to rest,
So may we press to that vast mansion, ever blest.

An excerpt from Contemplations by Anne Bradstreet 1612–1672

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/anne-bradstreet

 

Too Soon Old

  • Posted on February 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

Too Soon Old When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. Note that, while…

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