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September 19th, 2014

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Frozen Feasting At Fall Festivals

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


           This time of year, as leaves turn to glorious multicolor, steamy hot days of summer vanish, and autumn decorations go up, I can often be found … crying.

           But it seems everyone else can be found at harvest festivals.

           Harvest fests, as you might imagine, are annual celebrations that take place around the time of the harvest. Makes sense. This would be the harvest of food crops, you understand, not the biannual politician harvest that’s often rotten, anyway.

           Ancient people celebrated the harvest every year because they didn’t like starvation. That was pretty much it. Why else celebrate fall? Did the hunter/gatherers look at each other and say, “Oh, look! The sun is disappearing—we might freeze to death again this year. Let’s party!”

           They did not.

           But possibly the only thing worse than freezing to death is freezing to death while hungry. They were happy to wrest a few grains away from the bugs and birds, so they could fill the storehouses with boxes of Pre-Ricestoric Crispies and Frosted By Next Month Flakes.

           “Good news, honey—we won’t have to eat the kids this year.”

           “Oh, good. Now, about that vacation trip across the land bridge …”

           My home town has a harvest fest in mid-September, and at first glance that doesn’t seem to make sense. Remember, Thanksgiving was originally about being thankful for the harvest, and that’s in November. Unless you’re in Canada, in which case it’s earlier and more polite. (“Do you mind terribly if we take your land and give you smallpox? Thank you so much.”)Collapse )

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