Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Michaelmas Day

Today, September 29, is Michaelmas Day, also known as the Feast of Michael and All Angels.

There are traditionally four “quarter days” in a year (Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer Day (24th June), Michaelmas Day (29th September) and Christmas Day (25th December)). They are spaced three months apart, on religious festivals, usually close to the solstices or equinoxes. 

The quarter days were the four dates on which servants were hired, rents became due or leases begun. It was said that harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas, marking of the end of the productive season and the beginning of the new cycle of farming, land was exchanged and debts were paid. Michaelmas came to be the traditional time for electing magistrates and also the beginning of legal and university terms.

Roast goose is the traditional Michaelmas dinner. It was believed that dining on a well fattened goose fed on the stubble from the fields after the harvest guarded against financial need in the family for the next year. Or possibly because Queen Elizabeth I was eating goose when news of the defeat of the Spanish Armada was brought to her. In celebration she said that henceforth she would always eat goose on Michaelmas Day.  

More of the traditions of Michaelmas Day can be found here, here, and here.

So get rid of your debts, hire your servants, pay your rent, roast a well fattened goose, and enjoy Michaelmas Day!


  1. It is also my wife's birthday and she's no saint. Should I goose her? I'll bet she would prefer hiring servants and getting rid of debt, but that won't happen this year. We'll just have to make the best of it.

  2. No roast goose here, sorry, not even for St. Michael. Sorry! :-)

  3. Thank you. I knew of Michaelmas and Lady Day, but didn't know the stories or the reasons behind them.
    I will investigate further.

  4. Ah, wish I could do all those things you propose.
    I remember hearing about Michaelmas a long time ago but haven't known anyone that observes it.
    Do you eat the fattened goose?

  5. I find goose to rich in fat, but I do like the idea of hiring a few servants. :)

  6. Thanks for the "lesson"! The "Lady Day" was new to me! (Maybe the most important!) :-)

  7. Hello,Shammic,
    It is first time for me to know about Michaelmas Day!Interesting information.
    Let's have a good weekend.


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