Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Blessed Lammas/Lughnasadh everybody! Unless you're bellow the equator, then it's Blessed Imbolc! Since this is the first of our harvest holidays, I thought it appropriate to profile Harvest.

The word harvest comes from the Old English haerfest, which in turn came from the Proto Germanic harbitas. It has pretty much always meant the same thing: the time of year in which the crops are ready to be eaten. It is both a noun and a verb. Before the 1500s, people said "harvest" instead of "autumn" or "fall."

If you farm the old fashioned way with no machines, harvest time is the most work intensive time of year. I've yet to try to grow my own food. I know that it involves lots of bending over. Which is probably why the harvest holidays typically take place the day before working, I guess they needed a little revelry before tackling the mountain.

Harvest festivals vary throughout different regions, but typically they involve lots of eating. Aside from Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain, American Wiccans will also celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving. You could also argue that all our county fairs are harvest festivals. Jewish people observe Sukkot, which has it's roots in harvest traditions. Holi is a popular Hindu holiday celebrated by bonfires and throwing colored powder at each other among other things. One of the most widespread harvest festivals in the world is the Chinese Moon Festival. This is celebrated by eating mooncakes, lighting lanterns, and matchmaking. The Harvest Moon refers to the time closer to the Autumn Equinox.

I remember seeing Harvest used once as a middle name. I'm sure it's been used more than that, but I can't remember specifics. It has never charted in the United States. But I think it could work really well, particularly as a unique nature name for boys. It's got gentle strength to it.

So if you're looking for an unused gem of a name that will signify this time of year, Harvest is a great pick.


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