Thanksgiving Day

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Harvest Festivals






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Harvest Festivals

Harvest Festivals from Around the World

    Canaanite/Phoenician Harvest Festival

    The Barley Harvest Festival of Unleavened Bread occurs in March.

    Before the festival people clean their homes of all sour dough leavening, potential leavening, and leavened foods, these foods are prohibited for 7 days to prevent cursing the harvest and to give people time to start a fresh batch of leavening.

    Then the first barley sheaf/omer is offered to the temple and the gods. A joyful procession starts where all are dressed in white bears the omer to bomah. The priest waves omer over altar, chanting prayers and blessings to safeguard against crop failure.

    At the peoples homes families eat bitter herbs, fresh greens dipped in salted water, unleavened barley flat bread, salad of fruits with nuts and spices, and drink four cups of wine. Because this occurs when there is a full moon, they sing holy songs, dance sacred dances. A piece of broken matzoh is hidden at the beginning of the ritual, which the children have to find at the end.

    Another festival is the Feast of Wheat Harvest which is the offering of loaves which occurs 49 days after beginning barley harvest.

    The final grain harvest is in and the Temple activities start including the desacralization of the grain. A symbolic portion was winnowed, beaten and parched.

    From a portion of this newly harvested grain, every family makes 2 loaves of new wheat bread to offer at the temples and to the deities. The family decks the house with fragrant plants. Then they share a vegetarian meal featuring dairy products the family also eats wheat, barley, wine, honey, pomegranates, figs, olives. After eating, everyone goes out promenading in their fine clothes and pours water on each other, especially in the late afternoon, as group magic for summer dew.

    Feast of the Gracious Gods which is a celebration of Shaharu and Shalemu. They are the patrons of viticulture, and during this time the grape vines are pruned and pampered.

    Feast of Harvest In-Gathering long festival marks the end of the grape harvest and the final Harvest Home. The Canaanites ate, drank, and reveled, marking the end of agricultural year and the beginning of the rainy season. Dance processions wound their way through the fields under the full moon's light almost until dawn. Celebrants would carry palm leaves, and olive, myrtle and willow branches bound together and hanging with fruit. Major animal sacrifices were performed at the temple, but the poor could offer a jar of flour or oil or a jug of wine instead.

    During the festival, prayers and magic are made for rain. Normally, after the burning of the daily sacrifice, libations of wine are poured on the altar.

    Grape Harvest Festival Begins with the lighting of bonfires and dance in vineyards at night, women ask men to dance and to marry them.

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