Thanks for the bounty: Top Harvest Celebrations

If this was 1608 rather than 2008, instead of running down to the supermarket when we ran out of something we’d go out into our gardens and fields, patiently waiting until the right season before we could fulfill our cravings.

If this was 1708, we, or our wives or mothers would probably have spent a lot of time each day making a meal from scratch, which in 2008 we can pull out of a packet and bung into the microwave. If this was 1808 rather than 2008 we’d all be coming in from the harvest about now, getting ready to celebrate with a proper session of feasting. We may have been away from home, working at building a stockpile of food to see us through the winter, missing our families and about ready for a knees up. We no longer have to toil as hard but is there any reason why we can’t show our gratitude via the medium of appreciating of a good feast?

The Americans, appropriately, call it Thanksgiving, the Chinese have a Harvest Moon Festival, Korea has Chuseok, Vietnam, Trung Thu and on the other side of the world the Ga people of Ghana celebrate Homowo, but all these festivals share the same themes: being with family and being grateful that the harvest is in and bellies protected for another year. This timely event seems to cross barriers between beliefs, most of the larger religions mark the end of the harvest in some way. The story of the American Pilgrims celebrating the harvest with the Native Americans is a case in point.

Harvest is a big time of year for travel, in many cultures people are traveling home to be with their families, but if you’re away from home it’s a time of year when people are feeling most generous, so be prepared to be unexpectedly welcomed into other people’s homes. An invitation like that would definitely give you something to be thankful for, 1008 or 2008, China or Ghana, we’re not that different – most of us like a good feast and a party.

In most places the locals leave their travel 'till the last minute but if you stay put for the few days before you're more likely to see the sacred side of the festivals: the trips to the temples or churches, and of course to the huge markets which supply the raw ingredients for the feast.

More harvest celebrations

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