We are the proud winners of multiple Corporate Wall Calendar awards in the World Calendar Awards, click to read more

0 Calendar Enquiry
Contact Us: 01206 844500

Contact: 01206 844500

Michaelmas Day

When is Michaelmas Day?

Michaelmas Day is a Christian festival which is observed on 29th September each year.

St Michael

What is Michaelmas Day?

Michaelmas Day is also known as the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. In the Christian tradition, the name derives from the Archangel Michael, the leader of heaven’s armies and defender of the church against Satan. Michaelmas is a shortened version of Michael’s mass, in the same way that Christmas is an abbreviation of Christ’s mass.

The feast of Michaelmas occurs near the autumn equinox, and as a result it marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. It is one of the four "quarter days” in a year, with the others being Lady Day on 25th March, Midsummer on 24th June and Christmas on 25th December. These dates originate from the Middle Ages and are linked to religious festivals which occur around the times of the solstices and equinoxes.

Traditionally, in Britain, Michaelmas Day marked the time when the harvest was to be completed. This aligned with the changing of the seasons and marked the beginning of the new cycle in the farming calendar. Michaelmas Day also signified the time when magistrates were elected, servants were traditionally hired, land was exchanged and rents and debts were to be paid. In many schools and universities, the first term of the academic year came to be known as Michaelmas term: a tradition which continues today.

When was Michaelmas Day first celebrated or marked?

According to ancient texts, the origins of Michaelmas date back to 5th century Rome, although there is some confusion as to the exact dates.

Why is Michaelmas Day celebrated on 29th September?

A liturgical text from the 7th century states that a basilica near to Rome was dedicated to the archangels on 30th September during the fifth century. However, a later text states that the dedication was in fact to St Michael and took place on 29th September. Although the basilica no longer exists, the tradition of celebrating Michaelmas Day on 29th September has continued throughout history in Western Christianity.

Asters or Michaelmas Daisies

Interesting facts about Michaelmas Day

In the Roman Catholic tradition, Michaelmas Day is commemorated as the feast of the three archangels: St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael. In the Anglican Church it is known as the Feast of St Michael and All Angels. It is not commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which instead celebrates the feast of the archangels on 8th November.

Asters, the vibrant perennial flowers that tend to flower during autumn, are commonly known as Michaelmas daisies. The following rhyme explains how they got their name: "The Michaelmas daisy, among dead weeds, blooms for St Michael’s valorous deeds. And seems the last of flowers that stood, till the feast of St Simon and St Jude.” There are differing customs associated with Michaelmas daisies. Some reports say that they are associated with saying farewell to something or someone, whereas others say that they are given to loved ones to afford protection against dark forces.

An old Irish custom that dated back to Celtic times was to bake a Michaelmas pie and hide a ring inside it. The person who received the slice of pie containing the ring was said to be married within the year.

Another folk tale linked with Michaelmas Day warns that blackberries should not be eaten after the feast is celebrated on 29th September. According to legend, when St Michael defeated Satan, the devil fell into a blackberry bush. In his rage, Satan spat on the blackberry bush and cursed it, which is why we are discouraged from eating or picking the fruit after this date.

A Michaelmas Day tradition that was linked with the harvest was to eat a fattened goose as this was thought to bring prosperity and good luck. A saying associated with this was: "Eat a goose on Michaelmas Day, want not for money all the year.” Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth I was eating goose when she was informed about England’s defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. She decreed that goose should be eaten on Michaelmas Day from then on.

Top Selling Calendars

Some of our most popular advertising calendars this year