In the northern hemisphere, this Wednesday marks the Autumn Equinox, the first day of fall. How will you celebrate?
I’ve lived most of my adult life in climates that get a little hard to bear, Seattle WA, Vancouver BC, and Copenhagen, DK: all three of these gorgeous cities have one common downfall –-- a shortage of daylight. This means that I’ve gotten a little grumpy about fall over the years, seeing it as the forebearer to short days, long nights, and an overabundance of grey.
That’s why a few years ago our family started a tradition to help us celebrate the good bits of the season, and to start us off in an attitude of gratitude. We call it “The Annual Fall Chili Fest.” On or near the Autumn Equinox we invite a big group of people over to celebrate. Each friend arrives at the door with something to add to our family shrine---something to celebrate the season. Most people turn up with something from the earth: an apple, a chestnut, pretty autumn leafs. One year I even received a garland of bay leaves all strung on a thin wire. We watch the shrine transform from emptiness to abundance as one by one, items are added to its sacred space.
Once everyone arrives we load up the table with foods that bespeak of the crisp fall days that are to come, namely my famous Red and White Chili with Pineapple Salsa, rich Buttery Cornbread, and Apple Crisp with Ginger and Hazelnuts. Once we are all gathered ‘round the table with a bottle of microbrew or fresh-pressed apple juice in hand, we take turns offering toasts to all things Autumn. “Here’s to thick sweaters and Sunday afternoon Football!” (Hurrah!) “Here’s to going to the pumpkin patch!” (Hurrah!) “Here’s to not having to worry about tan lines!” (Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!) After everyone has raised their glass, we dig into a our feast and celebrate the abundance of the season.
In this way we adjust our attitudes. We stop mourning the loss of Summer and start celebrating the goodness of Fall. We become a more grateful people, and we start the season with happy anticipation.
How do you celebrate the turning of the season from summer to fall? (Or, if you are in the southern hemisphere, how to you mark the shift from winter to spring?) What are your rites of thanksgiving and abundance? Do tell!
Recipes for Autumnal Goodness:
Gluten-Free Apple Pear Multigrain Muffins from Katrina’s Kitchen
Spiced Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Icing from On My Plate
Butternut Squash Puree from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
French Onion Soup Tutorial with Suzie the Foodie
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