The Harvest Moon is Approaching. How Will You Celebrate?

The Harvest Moon is Approaching. How Will You Celebrate?

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What is the “harvest moon,” and why is it special?

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The harvest moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. This usually falls in September, but it can also fall in October. Usually, the moon will rise around 50 minutes later than it did the night before. But during the harvest moon, it rises around the same time every evening. Sometimes it feels as though there is a week of full moons. By why is it considered special, particularly by Irish people?

During the harvest moon, there is an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening. All throughout history, and even to this day, this additional moonlight is an aid to farmers and their assistants when bringing in the harvest. But these rural communities have to work fast: by the time the moon has reached the last quarter, it resumes its normal behaviour.

The celebration of the harvest moon originated in Europe. They rejoiced in the fact that just when days were getting shorter, the harvest moon arrived to extend the hours that harvesting could be done.

The harvest-moon effect is less noticeable the farther south you go. But going north makes the Harvest Moon more extreme. Rejoice Europeans!

MooncakeEuropeans aren’t the only ones who are loving the extra moon time. The Chinese also love a good harvest moon festival, although, they call it a “mid-autumn festival.” Their celebrations include games and the scoffing of “mooncakes.” Typical mooncakes are round pastries, with a rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste. It may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.

But back to Ireland. If you are involved in farming, we salute you for your hard work at this time. For everyone else, how do we celebrate the harvest moon?

In 2016, we can join a festival. Like the one being held at Hook lighthouse in Wexford. Hook Head Lighthouse has shone a protective beam for passing sailors for 800 years and the original structure is still intact. It is the world’s oldest intact operational lighthouse. The first beacon on the site was lit by a 5th century Welsh monk called Dubhán, who established a monastery nearby.

The worldÕs oldest intact operational Lighthouse, Hook Lighthouse sitting at the tip of the breathtaking Hook Head is set to host its first Harvest Moon Celebration evening on Friday, September 16th . For further details see www.hookheritage.ie - photo Fran byrne

Photo: Fran Byrne

 

This year, it will host its first Harvest Moon Celebration evening on the 16th of September. The management of the lighthouse have organised a night where attendees can watch the sunset and the harvest moon rise over Hook Peninsula.  All you have to do is find a spot to watch nature at its best during the autumn equinox. Ticket holders can scoff food from the barbeque and guzzle some Hook Pilsner. You can also sample a harvest brew from Arthurstown Brewing Company. There will be music and a prize for the best photograph.

Says Ann Waters of the Hook Lighthouse, “We have often watched this natural phenomenon and we are delighted to open the doors late this year and invite everyone to come along and watch the special moonrise and we feel it will be an especially worthwhile event for budding photographers.”

For inquiries about tickets, tickets, log on to  www.hookheritage.ie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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