Harvest in old English means ‘autumn’ and in ancient tradition, it was a time for reaping and gathering grain and other grown produce. Since pagan times in Britain, thanks have been given for abundant harvests.
Why was such an important festivity?
This was a vital time of the year, when success was a genuine matter of life or death. A prosperous harvest ensured that a community would be fed throughout the potentially barren winter months. It’s therefore no surprise that it was also a time steeped in superstition and, if it succeed, much celebration.
When does it happen?
Normally falling towards the end of September, or early October, the harvest festival is the closest thing to a thanksgiving’s day.
Although today it can be planned a fixed day for this celebration, in the past the harvest festival differed, based on when all the crops had been brought in.
Traditions and symbols
Harvest celebrations pre-date Christianity, but it has always been seen as a very spiritual time to give thanks for the year’s crop.
Symbolic corn dolls, made out of the last sheaf of the harvest, were placed on banquet tables when parishes had their huge feasts.
The doll was then kept until the spring to ensure the good crop continuation for next year.
In Spain does not exist this festivity but also the harvest is considered important and takes place at different times of the year, as the grape harvest during the months of September and October, same as the olives.
Have you ever thought of what happens before getting your perfect olive snack on your table? Before olives have taken quite a journey, its adventure likely begins in the warm Spanish sun, swaying on a branch in the Mediterranean breeze.
Olives from Spain require a lot of warmth and sunlight, difficult to grow in colder climates. The rich, fertile soils of Andalusia in Spain are the perfect environment for olives to flourish, which is why they have been a staple of Spanin’s culture and cuisine for more than 2000 years.
Olives from Spain grow and ripen throughout the summer, usually becoming ready to pick between September and November. Then they are carefully harvested, hand-picked by workers carrying baskets around their necks to protect against bruising. It’s a traditional method of harvesting that exists alongside modern farming, and can be quite time-consuming given that Spain has 2,650,801 hectares of olive groves, of which 154,978 (5.85%) are dedicated to table olives. The country is the largest producer of table olives in the world, as well as the largest exporter, according to the International Olive Council.
We have prepared this delicious recipe
specially for the Harvest Day, so now is time to enjoy it with friends and family!