Well, it is that time of year again! What time of year? Well Winter Finding of course! The Heathen Holiday of Winter Finding, occurs every year around September 23rd, and of course keep in mind this is if you are in the Northern Hemisphere! Otherwise, it is Ostara! (Learn more here: Ostara Article).
Fall-feast is another joyous festival in the Asatru holy calendar, and falls on the Autumn Equinox, and is the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. Also called Winter Finding - Fall fest represents the second harvest of the season.
Bonfires, feasting, and dancing played a large part in the festivities. Even into Christian times, villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames, cattle having a prominent place in the pre-Christian Germanic world. (Though folk etymology derives the English word "bonfire" from these "bone fires,") With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then lit their hearth from the common flame, bonding the families of the village together.
Practically speaking it marked the beginning of the gathering of food for the long winter months ahead, bringing people and their livestock in to their winter quarters. To be alone and missing at this dangerous time was to expose yourself and your spirit to the perils of imminent winter. In present times, the importance of this part of the festival has diminished for most people. From the point of view of an agricultural people, for whom a bad season meant facing a long winter of famine when many would not survive until spring, it was paramount.
At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. In the northern hemisphere, before the autumnal equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south.
In ancient times, our European ancestors celebrated their Harvest Feast, and found many reasons to be thankful and to celebrate. Our people have done this for as long as we can trace our history. Although what our people have felt thankful for has certainly changed over the many years. Remember as you sit down this year with your family, you're participating in an ancient tradition. And it's a great time to figure out what you're thankful for or for your kindred to hold a blot of thanks.