Harvest time


‘September, in Irish Seacht mí, ie “the seventh month,” also, Mi Meadhin Fómhair, ie “the middle month of harvest,” No one will think of contracting marriage in harvest because of the old saying: “The sheaf that is bound in the Harvest will be opened in the Spring.” An Irish couplet also thus refers to the season thus:

“The raven croaks in the harvest,

And the scald crow in the spring.”

Especially at this time the lover of nature, while taking a ramble will note the large number of small spiders floating on the air. These are known as Damhán ealla in Irish, and are supposed to protend that (like another Santa Claus) whoever they alight on will receive a new article of apparel, hat, coat, cloak, shawl or other garment, as the case may be. Consequent on being “lucky messangers” they are not interfered with.’

Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 1897.


5 thoughts on ““The sheaf that is bound in the Harvest will be opened in the Spring.”

  1. Very discouraging to see pictures of Donald Trump included on your blog posts about Irish tradition. Bigotry, hatred of foreigners, immigrants and anyone who isn’t blonde and blue eyed is not a value your site should be promoting. There are 40 million Irish immigrants in the US. Trump is the kind of person who would undoubtedly have said; “Irish need not apply” a few decades ago.


    1. Hi Ellen, I could not agree with you more. I would prefer if no advertisements appeared on the fading year page, much less political ones. Unfortunately I have no control over the advertisements that show up on the Fading Year, nor do they show me which advertisements they plan to use. WordPress tells me that “from time to time advertisements may appear” on my page, and offer to get rid advertisements if I’m willing to pay for the privilege, which is something I can’t consider at the moment.

      Thanks for the interest in the blog, and I hope you understand that I have no control over the content of the advertisements, and that the fading year does not make any money from these adverts.

      Yours sincerely,

      Nev Swift, the Fading Year administrator.


  2. Hello again – I need your permission to quote something for a book I am writing. “One activity involved setting several objects out in saucers or plates, which were then laid on a table. The chosen objects varied from one region to another, and even between different households, but generally a few of the following were included; a ring, a piece of wood, clay, a bean, a coin, salt, water, a button or a thimble. Once the saucers were set, a blindfolded person seated before them would pick one, the item which the person touched was symbolically believed to indicate their future situation in life. A ring meant the person would be married, a piece of wood or clay meant that they would die young, a bean or a rag meant that they would always be poor, while a coin indicated that they would be wealthy, salt was for luck, water meant that the person would emigrate or travel, while if one picked the saucer with a button or thimble it was believed they would die bachelor or a spinster.” 1

    1 The Fading Year, Halloween Divination in Ireland, October 31, 2016


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