Sunday, 20 July 2014

'Harvest Home' Friday Sept 5, 4:30 til late

Brian Jones tells lots of jokes and makes many wry comments -- which is sort of a cover for the really important stuff he says.

One of those important things Brian talks about sometimes is the 'Harvest Home' festival of his heritage. With 'corn dollies' and decorations, music, Morris Dancing, processions, and practices around the harvesting of the last sheaf of grain, Brian's family, their neighbours and their ancestors demonstrated gratitude for the harvest, maintained the integrity of the social fabric that made the intense work of the harvest season successful, and guarded the seed that would be next years' crop.

There are many harvest festivals, even some that are similarly called 'Harvest Home' and 'Ingathering' -- Christian, Jewish, and other -- observed throughout the world. In a quick survey of Google and Youtube results from these terms, I saw a lot of people who were getting together to engage in artistic and cultural practices related to gratitude and social cohesion; but of course, there were not many references to actual work, nor the direct connection to agriculture that probably formed the original basis for most (if not all?) of these events.

Just for interest, here's an old reel showing a pre-industrial harvest process in Britain:
Brian's father creating a 'corn dolly' for a harvest festival

Photographs of Brian participating in a traditional harvest, using a scythe
Page from a treatise on the customs of the area where Brian was born,
Shopshire folk-lore, a sheaf of gleanings, Volume 3 by George Frederic Jackson
highlighted text: " William Holmes observed, 'different places have different customs,' and this usage, even if not confined to the Bishop's Castle neighbourhood, was certainly by no means so wide-spread as the ceremony of 'Cutting the Gander's neck off', which also was practised at the end of the reaping. The neck, or 'Gonder's neck', was a group of perhaps twenty ears of corn, left standing and knotted together in the middle of the field when all the rest was 'down'. The men, standing at from ten to twenty paces distance, threw their sickles at it in turn, the leading reaper first, and the rest in order due. Whoever succeeded in cutting off the neck was reckoned the 'best man' and carried it home in triumph to the master's wife, expecting an extra 'mug o' drink' as his reward. The 'Missus,' who received this offering, was supposed to keep it in the house 'for good luck' until the next harvest-time came round."

Well, we're also going to stage our own 'Harvest Home' event, and just for kicks, we're actually going to start it off by inviting everyone to HARVEST (work in the garden) with us. We will also have music to accompany us there, and then a procession to the 'home' (Discovery Cafe), where we will be able to order supper and refreshments (** cash only), and enjoy more dancing (Tiddley Cove Morris), music (Rogue Folk Club) and, of course, wheat weaving and linen play and other ways of being creative that are connected to the land.

Plan to join us!
4:30pm in the Garden behind Aberthau Mansion, off Trimble and North West Marine Drive
6:15pm Procession from the garden down by Locarno Beach and back up to Discovery Cafe
6:30pm at Discovery Cafe

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