Turkey Day - Not!
Soon it will be time for our American version of the Harvest Festival - Thanksgiving - and before that day arrives, I'd like to say a few words for the sake of all the frightened turkeys out there ... it's never too late to become a vegetarian :-)
Here's a little of what Wikipedia says of the Harvest Festival ...
In Britain, thanks has been given for successful harvests since pagan times.The celebrations on this day usually include singing, praying and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival or Harvest Home or Harvest Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving.
In British Churches, Chapels and schools, people bring in food from the garden, the allotment or farm. The food is often distributed among the poor and senior citizens of the local community. ...
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'. 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.
Early settlers took the idea of harvest thanksgiving to North America. The most famous one is the harvest Thanksgiving held by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621.
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.
Farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called a harvest supper. 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" helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service ...
For those like me who are vegetarians, here's a great page - Gentle Thanksgiving - of recipes and photos.