Harvest Festivals

In honor of Thanksgiving, I pulled out my copy of Fall Harvests: Bringing in Food by Martha E.H. Rustad. Thanksgiving a time to celebrate the harvest in the United States, but many other countries have their own harvest festivals.

10778 Koreans celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival, or Chuseok. The date varies from year to year depending on the Chinese lunar calendar; it is on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon. This year, it took place on September 12. Rice cakes are an important food for the holiday. They’re also called Songpyeon and you can read more about them and find a recipe here.

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In Ghana, people celebrate the Yam Festival, also known as Homowo. It usually takes place in August. Not surprisingly, yams are a key food at this celebration. But did you know that the yams Ghanaians (and other West Africans, for that matter) eat are not what you’ll typically find labeled “yams” in U.S. grocery stores? The venerable Library of Congress has this very helpful explanation of the differences between yams and sweet potatoes.

Fall Harvests F_Page_18So weather you’re eating rice cakes, yams, or perhaps some turkey to celebrate the harvest, I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving!