A harvest festival is an annual celebration that occurs around the time of the main harvest. Harvests festivals feature feasting, both family and public, on seasonal foods.
Thanksgiving, Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts
Thanksgiving, originated in the fall of 1621, when Pilgrims celebrated their successful wheat crop and overflowing store cupboards with a three-day feast. Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
Vendimia, Mendoza, Argentina
On the final Sunday of February, the Archbishop of Mendoza sprinkles the season’s first grapes with holy water, setting off a month of celebrations in Argentina’s Mendoza region. Crowds gather in the streets to watch a parade of beauty queens, then the festival culminates with a spectacular show at the amphitheater. Finally, a Harvest Queen is chosen amid spectacular fireworks.
Rice Harvest, Bali, Indonesia
Dewi Sri, the rice goddess, is venerated as a matter of course in Bali, where rice is the staple crop. Small dolls of rice stalks representing Dewi Sri are placed in granaries as offerings.
Chanthaburi Fruit Fair, Chanthaburi, Thailand
During the summer harvest, the annual Fruit Fair exhibits exotic durians, rambutans, longans, and mangosteens in vibrant arrangements as elaborate as Buddhist mandalas. There are produce competitions and art displays, and the opening-day parade with floats made from thousands of tropical fruits and vegetables.
Sukkot, Jerusalem, Israel
Sukkot celebrates Israel’s harvests and recalls the time when the Israelites wandered the desert temporary shelters. Families build huts, or sukkah, with roofs open to the sky. Here they eat, and sleep, sometime for the next seven days.