International Harvest Festivals and Celebrations
In the midst of America’s Thanksgiving buzz, we thought it would be a nice time to educate ourselves on the more obscure harvest festivals around the world. While stateside it can feel like Thanksgiving steals all the thunder, many other cultures celebrate diverse harvests throughout the year. Ysolo, for instance, is a festival marking the first day of the eggplant harvest in Tirana, Albania. Bénichon, in Catholic regions of French-speaking Switzerland, is a harvest festival observed by consuming a seven course meal. The celebration also coincides with Rindya, the day the grazing cows are brought back from high altitude pastures in the Alps.
There are close to twenty different harvest festivals observed in various regions of India alone. Bhogali Bihu (or Magh Bihu) is a harvest festival celebrated in Assam that marks the end of the harvesting season in mid-January. Vaisakhi is observed as the thanksgiving day across the northern Indian subcontinent by farmers, where they pay tribute, thanking God for their abundant harvest and praying for the future prosperity. On Ugadi, the people of the Deccan region of India celebrate the new year by the symbolic eating of a dish with six tastes. Each flavor symbolizes a different emotion (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise) representing the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences. Tamarind juice, for instance, is meant to signify disgust.
We love Savior of the Apple Feast Day for its grand name. This harvest festival is sometimes referred to as Savior on the Hill; it is an Eastern Slavic folk holiday celebrated on August 19th. Well, there you have it… There are many, many more harvest celebrations around the world that we haven’t covered here but we thought we would take the spotlight off of Thanksgiving for a change. To learn more about harvest festivals in different countries click here.