Michaelmas & Jane Austen Connections
Jane Austen told me about Michaelmas. The British Isles holiday is peppered in her written works. Well, maybe not exactly peppered, but the Michaelmas parties do make their occasional appearances, and every time I saw anything of it, I wanted to know what in Heaven it was. Once I got Michaelmasly educated, I wanted to take part in the holiday. Every year. September 29th.
Michaelmas is an Olde English Holiday stemming from an older Scottish Holiday with blackberries as a key ingredient in the celebratory mix. Blackberries?! Ooh, I LOVE blackberries. An excuse to enjoy blackberries?! Sign me up! We can even almost call it Blackberry Day, just for fun! Do the research right now, if you like, and find out WHY blackberries are the thing at Michaelmas!
I don’t’ know about other Janeites and Austenophiles, but it seemed to me that Christmas Holiday season almost began at Michaelmas, in Jane’s novels. A chance and excuse for me to begin Christmas feasts and festivities three months earlier?! Before Thanksgiving?! Even before Halloween?! What’s not to love?! Put Michaelmas on my calendar of events! I’ve GOT to do this! Michaelmas could kick off my Christmas season henceforth!
For years I talked and planned of celebrating Michaelmas. I read up on it. I wanted to do it right. I looked at attendant traditional recipes. It was a goose-style feast with all the trimmings. Soon I wondered how traditional, modern, classical or neo-gothic I should do the holiday for my loved-ones.
In the end, I decided we could do it fancier like Downton Abbey or just wing-it like a Highland Fling picnic in the British countryside. Our first forays into Michaelmas territory have been with Scottish Scones and Blackberry desserts in an English Tea Party style. With pretty teacups, saucers and all, it doesn’t take much to put all our favorite dainties together for a delicious celebration. With my family bringing their best or funniest British accents to the table, it makes the event all the jollier. It’s an annual hit I highly recommend to any UK descendant, or Anglophile.