Michaelmas Day is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, celebrated on 29th September. St Michael is the patron saint of the sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. He was the Angel who hurled Lucifer (the devil) down from Heaven for his treachery.
Michaelmas Day is traditionally the last day of the harvest season which used to begin on 1st August and was called Lammas, meaning “loaf Mass”. Farmers made loaves of bread from the new wheat crop and gave them to their local church. Nowadays harvest festivals are celebrated at the end of the season near to Michaelmas Day.
Michaelmas Day is sometimes also called Goose Day. Goose Fairs are still held in some English towns around this time, but geese are no longer sold.
Michaelmas Day is also a quarter day when rents and bills had to be paid and the time of year when agricultural labourers were hired for the following year. A fair usually followed the hirings (remember Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd): fun fairs are still held in our local market towns around this time of year.