Celebrations: Preparing for Michaelmas and the Feast of St. Francis

I have to admit this is my favorite time of year because it’s all my favorite holidays grouped so close together.
Since Henry is a little older this year we’ve been talking about how to incorporate our faith more in our home and we’re looking forward to incorporating more of the liturgical year into our home life.  Luckily, being on the Catholic side this means we get the opportunity for a lot more little parties throughout the year (and our share of solemn days too of course).
Two of the Feast Days I’ve been most looking forward to are just around the corner:  Michaelmas and the Feast of St. Francis. 
For Michaelmas I’m drawn more to the older traditions the focused on celebrating the end of the harvest season; my father just told me that the combining guy is coming any day now so it’s just about that time.  My husband thinks the archangels (the day gets it’s name from Micheal the Archangel) are pretty nifty; he (we really) also love the idea of celebrating the passage of the seasons and this gives us the opportunity to do so much at once.  This holiday, while not often celebrated anymore, just seems bursting with opportunity to me.
St. Francis is, to use a colloquialism, my home-boy.  Seriously, even growing up Protestant I couldn’t ignore the fact that St. Francis (and his BFF St. Clare) were pretty awesome and I know I’m not the only one to consider them the unofficial Patron Saints of the Simple/Voluntary Simplicity movement – really voluntary simplicity, radical homemaking, back to the land homesteaders are just aging hipsters compared to those two.  I’m really excited to bring the teaches of this amazing man into our home!
I can’t tell you what our fantastic traditions are yet, because we don’t really have any yet.  But I can give you a run down of what we have planned.
Michaelmas (because of a wedding this year we’ll be celebrating on the 28th):
  • Food!  Carrots, Blackberries and Goose is traditional.  I’ve got plans for the first two, but I’m going to be honest – I plan on picking up a rotisserie chicken for the main course (sue me, it’s end of my long work week and we leave for wedding festivities in the morning).
  • Books – I’m still trying to track down a few related reading materials, but if nothing else we’ll pull out our “fall books” for a good pouring over.  Though not an archangel, I’ve got a copy of “Saint George and the Dragon” on reserve at the library, which seems to be a favorite for a lot of families.
  • Fire – Many traditions mention a “Michaelmas Bonfire” to officially usher in the fall/winter.  If the weather is right I think we might try to light our first fire in the fireplace!
The Feast of St. Francis:
  •  For the animals:  St. Francis well known for a love of and the affect he had on animals.  We’ll do a deep cleaning of our cat’s things, and perhaps gift him with a new toy.  I hope to take some supplies over to our local animal shelter, but need to research how they accept donations beforehand.
  • Books – I have a few St. Francis books ready to pick up from the library as well, and a copy of  Brother Sun, Sister Moon might make it’s way to us in time.
  • Family Activity – I’m thinking we might try to make something as a family – I’m leaning towards Pinecone Peanut Butter Bird Feeders. 
  • Food – We’ll see how industrious I can be about all of this, but I’d love to try my hand at a small batch of frangipane cream on some kind of desert.  This might end up being a fruit tart from the co-op with whipped cream on top, but I’m going for the A for effort.  😉
Those are the main ones we’ll be focusing on until the end of October, but we’re rather excited about the whole thing.
Honestly, and yes it may be a little selfish, but I love having so many special days (Secular and Holy) to fill the space between the beginning of Fall and well into the New Year it just makes me look forward to the “dark days of winter” that much more.
For some great Michaelmas ideas go check out Haley over @ Carrots for Michaelmas and for a list of great St. Francis books visit Elizabeth @ In the Heart of My Home.  And if you’re interested in learning more about or planning out your liturgical celebrations I recommend the Calendar over at Catholic Culture.org
What special days do you celebrate in the fall?  Do you have any special traditions for these days?

    More Inspired Additions: Simple Living Books for Kids

    It’s time for another round of “Inspired: Simple Living Books for Kids”!

    The illustrations and limited next in “A Good Night Walk” are perfect for the younger children in your family.  I highly recommend reading thru the story and stopping to ask the child where different objects mentioned in the story (and not!) are to encourage language skills.

    Who wouldn’t love to have friends near by who could build you a cottage in two days in exchange for a plate of Peanut Butter Sandwiches.  I’m ashamed to admit that I want the house built in this story for my own!

    Another great books in the footsteps of books like “Ox-Cart Man” charting the passage of a full year on a small farm.  Lovely images of a family working and living together will delight you and your older child!

    Don’t forget to subscribe to the “Inspired: Simple Living Books for Kids” Pinboard HERE
    and look at past Inspired Posts HERE and HERE .

    This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.  
    I have not been paid in any other way to share these books and share them only out of my own desire to pass on good, inspiring children’s literature to you!
    I’ve just finished “North & South” and “The Giver” and am slowly working my way thru “The Bridal Wreath” by Sigrid Undset and re-reading “A Shadow of Night” by Deborah Harkness just for the heck of it.  
    What’s on your nightstand?