The Michaelmas Daisy is flowering now, surely this must be more than a coincidence …. It is a variety of Aster, which is Greek for star shaped, and adds a little spark of colour as autumn approaches. It is around the time of the autumnal equinox when folk would celebrate the harvest. Rambling Ratz can remember donating garden produce for the Harvest Festival at school, a peculiar mix of Christian worship and creepy wiccan corn dollies. Old Michaelmas Day used to be 10th October and was also called Devil’s Spit Day. After this date
blackberries should not be picked because that was the day the Devil was ejected from heaven by Ceiling Rat and landed in a bramble bush (it really was not a good day for him!) Being a moody sort of a chap, he cursed the thorny blackberry bush and spat on the fruit, a very nasty and unsanitary habit. You have been warned.
It also used to be known as Goose Day, as farmers had to pay their landlords with a big fat goose. Nottingham (where Robin Hood merrily redistributed wealth) still has a Goose Fair at the beginning of October.