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Celebrating the Feast of Michael and All the Angels

The Feast of Michael and All Angels is also known as Michaelmas. It falls on September 29 every year. The day is close to the equinox and is also related to the shortening of days.

Introducing the Three Archangels
Angels are pure spirits. They are God’s messengers or servants. Angels are on a higher order as compared to humans because they are heavenly or celestial beings. They do not rely upon matter for their activity or existence. However, they are different from saints, which humans can become. Also, angels are immortal and have will and wisdom.

The liturgy celebrates the feast of three archangels according to the Church’s tradition. Michael was the archangel who defeated Satan and his evil angels in a fierce battle to defend God’s friends. He protects humankind from the trap of the devil. Gabriel is the Strength of God and revealed the birth of Lord Jesus Christ to Mary and Zachariah the birth of John the Baptist.

Gabriel’s greeting to Mother Mary is one of the most frequent and common prayers of Christians. It goes like this- “Hail, full of Grace.” Raphael (the Medicine of God) took care of Tobias during his journey.

History of Michaelmas
The roots of this feast date back to as early as the third century. The day was then transformed from a pagan spring festival into a feast day. However, it was only in the fifth century when it emerged as an official feast day. A basilica was built near Rome to honor Saint Michael on September 30. Celebrations started on the eve of that day, and the practice continues.

Celebrations, Traditions, and Customs
As mentioned in the beginning, many nations refer to the day as “Michaelmas.” It is also a harvest feast day. In England, the day marked the election of magistrates, recruitment of servants, and start of university and legal terms. The day also marks the opening of the hunting season for deer and other games. In certain European countries such as Austria, Denmark, and Germany, people drink a wine called “Saint Michael’s Love” on this day.

The foods that people eat for this day differ from country to country. For example, in the British Isles, people ate a fattened goose for prosperity on this day. In Scotland, a big, scone-like cake called St. Michael’s Bannock was the traditional fare.

French like to eat Gaufres or waffles for the day while Italians have gnocchi. Christians celebrate the day to support the wealth and prosperity of the family for the coming year.

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