We have many traditions surrounding the start of autumn, the Harvest Moon, the Harvest Festival and the Autumn Equinox. All are tied delightfully together with producing food, harvesting food and celebrating the abundance of summer. This year the Harvest Moon was the 16th September. Thought to be the brightest and clearest of the full moons it allows farmers to mark their calendar and extends their day light hours to gather the crops before the weather changes. The Harvest Festival follows soon after to mark the end of one season and its hard work and the start of another. This movement into autumn is clearly denoted by the Autumn Equinox, this year on the 22nd September. This day is of equal day and night and gradually daylight decreases until the December Winter Solstice. And, so marks our cooler seasons. The food that is grown and seasonally available during autumn transitions from leafy and green; like broccoli and corn to hardy and starchy; like carrots and squash. This is reflective of what our bodies need and crave during the colder months; we want to eat warming, nourishing foods like soups, stews and casseroles. Chinese philosophy links the changing seasons and human energy beautifully. In the summer our energy is expansive and extraverted, while in the winter it contracts and closes as if to hibernate. To visualize this, imagine expansive spring and summer energy running from your toes, up your torso, over your head and down your back. While in autumn and winter it switches and runs from your heals, up your back, over your head and down to your toes in a closing down and conserving way. Similarly, the vegetables we consume during autumn and winter are generally grown under the ground (parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, garlic) or are of a hardy nature to endure frosts and extreme cold (pumpkins, squash, leeks, kale, cabbages). Most are extremely immune boasting, (full of vitamin C, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium vitamin A and vitamin B), they are fibrous and all are nourishing and filling. Enjoy the harvest that autumn provides.
Paula is an avid writer and enjoys working with food and words.