Michaelmas (/ˈmɪkəlməs/ MIK-əl-məs; also known as the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) is a Christian festival observed in some Western liturgical calendars on 29 September. In some denominations a reference to a fourth angel, usually Uriel, is also added. Michaelmas has been one of the four quarter days of the financial year.[3] The Serbian Orthodox Church observes the feast, whereas most Eastern Orthodox Churches do not.[2] The Greek and Romanian Orthodox honour the archangels on 8 November instead, honouring the Cherubim and Seraphim also.

In Christian angelology, the Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the Archangels and is honored for defeating Satan in the war in heaven.[4]

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael
Linz StMartin01
Saint Michael the Archangel
Observed by
Date29 September


BL Harley 624, f. 134v - Michael and the dragon
Saint Michael defeats the Dragon, from a 12th-century manuscript.

In the fifth century a basilica near Rome was dedicated in honour of Michael on 30 September, beginning with celebrations on the eve of that day, and 29 September is now kept in honour of Michael and all Angels throughout some western churches.[5] The name Michaelmas comes from a shortening of "Michael's Mass," in the same style as Christmas (Christ's Mass) and Candlemas (Candle Mass, the Mass where traditionally candles used throughout the year would be blessed).[6]

During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas was celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation, but this tradition was abolished in the 18th century.[7] In medieval England, Michaelmas marked the ending and beginning of the husbandman's year, George C. Homans observes: "at that time harvest was over, and the bailiff or reeve of the manor would be making out the accounts for the year."[8]

Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated in the northern hemisphere with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days. It was also one of the English, Welsh and Irish quarter days when accounts had to be settled. On manors, it was the day when a reeve was elected from the peasants.[9] Michaelmas hiring fairs were held at the end of September or beginning of October.[10]


On the Isle of Skye, Scotland, a procession was held.[7] Many of the activities that had been done at Lughnasadh – sports, games and horse races – migrated to this day.[11] One of the few flowers left around at this time of year is the Michaelmas daisy (also known as asters). Hence the rhyme: "The Michaelmas daisies, among dead weeds, Bloom for St Michael's valorous deeds ..."[10]


A traditional meal for the day includes goose (a "stubble-goose", i.e. one prepared around harvest time).[12]

The custom of baking a special bread or cake, called Sruthan Mhìcheil (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈs̪t̪ɾu.an ˈviːçal]), St Michael's bannock, or Michaelmas Bannock on the eve of the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel probably originated in the Hebrides. The bread was made from equal parts of barley, oats, and rye without using any metal implements.[11] In remembrance of absent friends or those who had died, special Struans, blessed at an early morning Mass, were given to the poor in their names.[13] Nuts were traditionally cracked on Michaelmas Eve.[14]

Folklore in the British Isles suggests that Michaelmas day is the last day that blackberries can be picked. It is said that when St Michael expelled Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped, spat and urinated on them, so that they would be unfit for eating. As it is considered ill-advised to eat them after 29 September, a Michaelmas pie is made from the last of the season.[12]

Differences in number of archangels

St James' church, Grimsby (23493027445)
Raphael and Michael
St James' church, Grimsby (22864720174)
Uriel and Gabriel

In Anglican and Episcopal tradition, there are three or four archangels in its calendar for 29 September feast for St. Michael and All Angels: namely Michael, Gabriel and Raphael,[5] and often, Uriel.[15][16][17][18]

For the Roman Catholic 29 September is referred only to the three Archangels mentioned in the Bible: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and, Saint Raphael. Their feast were unified in one common day during the second half of the 20th century. In the time before their feasts were: 29 September (only St Michael), 24 March for St Gabriel, and, lastly, 24 October for St Raphael.

Autumn term in universities

It is used in the extended sense of autumn, as the name of the first term of the academic year, which begins at this time, at various educational institutions in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Commonwealth.[9] These are typically older institutions, including the universities of Cambridge, Durham, Lancaster, the London School of Economics, Oxford, Swansea, and Dublin.

Use by legal profession

The Inns of Court of the English Bar and the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Ireland also have a Michaelmas term as one of their dining terms. It begins in September and ends towards the end of December.

The term is also the name of the first of four terms into which the legal year is divided by the courts of Ireland[19] and England and Wales.[20]

In the United Kingdom, the United States and Ireland, a Red Mass is traditionally convened on the Sunday closest to Michaelmas, in honor of and to bless lawyers and judges.

Modern observances

Police Week Blue Mass 2013 (8739367386)
Blue Mass

Because Saint Michael is the patron of some North American police officers, Michaelmas may also be a Blue Mass.[21] However, the same can also be said for members of the United States military, children, and several of St. Michael's other patronages. Lutheran Christians consider it a principal feast of Christ, and the Lutheran Confessor, Philip Melanchthon, wrote a hymn for the day that is still sung in Lutheran churches: "Lord God, We All to Thee Give Praise" (The Lutheran Hymnal 254).

Michaelmas is still celebrated in the Waldorf schools, which celebrate it as the "festival of strong will" during the autumnal equinox. Rudolf Steiner considered it the second most important festival after Easter, Easter being about Christ ("He is laid in the grave and He has risen"). Michaelmas is about man once he finds Christ ("He is risen, therefore he can be laid in the grave"), meaning man finds the Christ (risen), therefore he will be safe in death (laid in the grave with confidence).[22]

In the City of London, Michaelmas is the day when the new Lord Mayor of London is elected, in the Common Hall.[23]

Old Michaelmas Day

Old Michaelmas Day falls on 11 October (10 October according to some sources – the dates are the result of the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar). It is said that the Devil fell out of Heaven on this date, and fell into a blackberry bush, cursing the fruit as he fell. According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date (see above). In Yorkshire, it is said that the devil had spat on them. According to Morrell (1977), this old legend is well known in all parts of the United Kingdom, even as far north as the Orkney Islands. In Cornwall, a similar legend prevails, however, the saying goes that the devil urinated on them.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Donald Spence Jones (1898). The Anglican Church. Cassell. p. 290.
  2. ^ a b Владимир Стефановић. "Михољдан". Crkvenikalendar.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  3. ^ Philip's Encyclopedia. Philip's. 2008. p. 511. ISBN 978 0 540 09151 5.
  4. ^ Richard Freeman Johnson (2005), Saint Michael the Archangel in medieval English legend, Boydell Press, p. 105, retrieved 11 July 2010
  5. ^ a b "29 September". Exciting Holiness. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Michaelmas".
  7. ^ a b "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Michael the Archangel". Newadvent.org. 1 October 1911. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  8. ^ George C. Homans, English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century, 2nd ed. 1991:354.
  9. ^ a b "Michaelmas, 29th September, and the customs and traditions associated with Michaelmas Day". Historic-uk.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "Michaelmas Traditions". Black Country Bugle. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b Randal W. Oulton (13 May 2007). "Michaelmas Bannock". Cooksinfo.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Are we ready to embrace the Michaelmas goose once again?". BBC News. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  13. ^ Goldman, Marcy. "The Harvest Bread of Michaelmas". BetterBaking.com. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  14. ^ Koenig, Chris (21 September 2011). "Merry times at the Michaelmas Feast". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  15. ^ "urielsg4". Urielsg.org. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  16. ^ Episcopal Church, Standing Liturgical Commission. The proper for the lesser feasts and fasts: together with the fixed holy days, Church Hymnal Corp., 1988, ISBN 978-0-89869-214-3. p. 380
  17. ^ "Michael and All Angels". Justus.anglican.org. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  18. ^ [1] Archived 4 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Ireland, Courts Service of. "TERMS & SITTINGS:TERMS & SITTINGS / High Court:High Court Sittings: Law Terms". www.courts.ie. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  20. ^ The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Judicial Sitting for the Michaelmas Term, Monday 4th October –Tuesday 21st December 2010 (PDF), retrieved 8 November 2010
  21. ^ "Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels - September 29, 2014 - Liturgical Calendar". Catholic Culture. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Rudolf Steiner Archive: Lectures:GA". Fremont, Michigan US: Rsarchive.org. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Summons to Common Hall". liverycompanies.info. Retrieved 27 September 2016.

Further reading

  • Morrell, P. (1977). Festivals and Customs. London: Pan (Piccolo). ISBN 0-330-25215-1

External links

Aster (genus)

Aster is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Its circumscription has been narrowed, and it now encompasses around 180 species, all but one of which are restricted to Eurasia; many species formerly in Aster are now in other genera of the tribe Astereae. Aster amellus is the type species of the genus and the family Asteraceae.The name Aster comes from the Ancient Greek word ἀστήρ (astḗr), meaning "star", referring to the shape of the flower head. Many species and a variety of hybrids and varieties are popular as garden plants because of their attractive and colourful flowers. Aster species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species—see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Aster. Asters can grow in all hardiness zones.

Aster amellus

Aster amellus, the European Michaelmas-daisy, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the genus Aster, belonging to the Asteraceae family. In the language of flowers, the Michaelmas-daisy symbolizes a farewell or a departure.

Brunette Coleman

Brunette Coleman was a pseudonym used by the poet and writer Philip Larkin. In 1943, towards the end of his time as an undergraduate at St John's College, Oxford, he wrote several works of fiction, verse and critical commentary under that name, including homoerotic stories that parody the style of popular writers of contemporary girls' school fiction.

The Coleman oeuvre consists of a completed novella, Trouble at Willow Gables, set in a girls' boarding school; an incomplete sequel, Michaelmas Term at St Brides, set in a women's college at Oxford; seven short poems with a girls' school ambience; a fragment of pseudo-autobiography; and a critical essay purporting to be Coleman's literary apologia. The manuscripts were stored in the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull, where Larkin was chief librarian between 1955 and 1985. Their existence was revealed to the public when Larkin's Selected Letters and Andrew Motion's biography were published in 1992 and 1993 respectively. The Coleman works themselves were finally published, with other Larkin drafts and oddments, in 2002.

At Oxford Larkin underwent a period of confused sexuality and limited literary output. The adoption of a female persona appeared to release his creativity, as in the three years following the Coleman phase he published under his own name two novels and his first poetry collection. Thereafter, although he gradually established his reputation as a poet, his career as a prose writer declined, and despite several attempts he completed no further fiction. Critical reaction to the publication of the Coleman material was divided between those who saw no value in these juvenilia, and those who considered that they cast useful light on the study of the mature Larkin.

Cambridge University Conservative Association

The Cambridge University Conservative Association, or CUCA, is a long-established student political society founded 1921, as a Conservative Association for students at Cambridge University, although it has earlier roots in the late nineteenth century.

CUCA is not affiliated with the nationwide youth branch of the Conservative Party, the Young Conservatives, but is a fully independent Association distinct from other Conservative youth organisations.

CUCA is not only the centre of right-leaning thought in Cambridge, but also a social hub for like-minded students. The Association puts on a range of events for its members each term, notably its ‘Port & Policy’ debates, as well as addresses from a number of high-profile speakers.

Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club

The Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club, founded in October 1878, is a philosophy discussion group that meets weekly at Cambridge during term time. Speakers are invited to present a paper with a strict upper time limit of 45 minutes, after which there is discussion for an hour. Several Colleges have hosted the Club: Trinity College, King's College, Clare College, Darwin College, St John's College, and from 2014 Newnham College.

The club has been highly influential in analytic philosophy because of the concentration of philosophers at Cambridge. Members have included many of British philosophy's top names, such as Henry Sidgwick, J.M.E. McTaggart, Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and several papers regarded as founding documents of various schools of thoughts had their first airing at a club meeting. Moore's "The Nature of Judgment" was first read to the club on 21 October 1898. Frank P. Ramsey's "Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description" was presented to a meeting in 1911, and in 1926 became Truth and Probability. Russell's "Limits of Empiricism" was read in the Michaelmas term of 1935, Friedrich Hayek's "The Facts of the Social Sciences" was read in the Michaelmas term of 1942, and Moore's paradox was first read in Michaelmas 1944. Almost every major anglophone philosopher since the Second World War has delivered a paper to the club.It was during a meeting of the Moral Sciences Club in October 1946 that Wittgenstein famously waved a poker at Sir Karl Popper during a heated discussion about whether philosophical problems are real or just linguistic games.

Former Presidents of Cambridge University Liberal Club and Chairs of Cambridge Student Liberal Democrats

This is a list of presidents of Cambridge University Liberal Club, of Cambridge University Social Democrats and their successor organisations, including the present-day Cambridge University Liberal Association. Founded in 1886, it is the oldest of the party-political societies at the University of Cambridge.

High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire

This is a list of High Sheriffs of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. One sheriff was appointed for both counties from 1125 until the end of 1575 (except for 1165–1166), after which separate sheriffs were appointed. See High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire for dates before 1125 or after 1575.

High Sheriff of Cornwall

High Sheriffs of Cornwall: a chronological list:

Note: The right to choose High Sheriffs each year is vested in the Duchy of Cornwall, rather than the Privy Council, chaired by the Sovereign, which chooses the Sheriffs of all other English counties, other than those in the Duchy of Lancaster. This right came from the Earldom of Cornwall. In the time of Earls Richard and Edmund, the steward or seneschal of Cornwall was often also the sheriff.

High Sheriff of Cumberland

The High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown. Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its functions are now largely ceremonial. The High Sheriff changes every April.

The post of High Sheriff of Cumberland existed from the creation of the county in the twelfth century up until 1974 when the administrative and ceremonial or geographic county of Cumberland became part of Cumbria.

Hilary term

Hilary term is the second academic term of the University of Oxford and the University of Dublin. It runs from January to March and is so named because the feast day of St Hilary of Poitiers, 14 January, falls during this term. All terms are dated from this day in the following way:

Michaelmas term — 13 Sundays before to 5 Sundays before the feast day of St Hilary

Hilary term — 1 Sunday to 9 Sundays after the feast day of St Hilary

Trinity term — 15 Sundays to 21 Sundays after the feast day of St HilaryThe term originated in the legal system. The courts of England and Wales and the Courts of Ireland divide the legal year into four terms: Hilary, Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas.

At the University of Oxford, following the resolution made by Council on 8 May 2002, Hilary Term begins on and includes 7 January and ends on and includes 25 March or the Saturday before Palm Sunday, whichever is the earlier. In Hilary Term, as in Michaelmas Term and in Trinity Term, there is a period of eight weeks known as Full Term, beginning on a Sunday, within which lectures and other instruction prescribed by statute or regulation are given. The dates on which each Full Term will begin and end in the next academic year but one are published by the Registrar in the University Gazette during Hilary Term.

Landing at Saidor

The Landing at Saidor (Operation Michaelmas) was an Allied amphibious landing at Saidor, Papua New Guinea on 2 January 1944 as part of Operation Dexterity during World War II. In Allied hands, Saidor was a stepping stone towards Madang, the ultimate objective of General Douglas MacArthur's Huon Peninsula campaign. The capture of the airstrip at Saidor also allowed construction of an airbase to assist Allied air forces to conduct operations against Japanese bases at Wewak and Hollandia. But MacArthur's immediate objective was to cut off the 6,000 Imperial Japanese troops retreating from Sio in the face of the Australian advance from Finschhafen.

Following the landing at Saidor, the Japanese elected to retreat rather than fight, and withdrew over the foothills of the rugged Finisterre Range. For the Japanese soldiers involved, the march was a nightmare, as they struggled through the jungles, across the swollen rivers, and over cliffs and mountains. Men succumbed to fatigue, disease, starvation, drowning, and even exposure, the nights in the Finisterres being bitterly cold. Hampered by the rugged terrain, inclement weather, signal failures, misunderstandings, over-caution, and above all the resolute and resourceful Japanese, US troops were unable to prevent large numbers of the retreating Japanese from slipping past them.

After considerable construction effort in the face of wet weather, the airbase was completed and proved useful. Whereas the base at Nadzab was surrounded by mountains and was therefore unsuited for missions that had to take off after dark, there was no such problem at Saidor. During March 1944, B-24 Liberator bombers staged through Saidor for night attacks on Hollandia.

List of Presidents of The Cambridge Union

This is a list of presidents of The Cambridge Union since its foundation in 1815.

List of former Presidents of Oxford University Liberal Club and Oxford University Liberal Democrats

This is a list of presidents of Oxford University Liberal Club, and its successors under various names, including the present-day Oxford University Liberal Democrats. Founded in 1913, it is the oldest of the political clubs at the University of Oxford.

Michaelmas and Upolu Cays National Park

Michaelmas and Upolu Cays is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 1,409 km (876 mi) northwest of Brisbane and 33 km (21 mi) east of Cairns. It comprises two small cays on Michaelmas Reef, which forms the north-eastern section of the Arlington reef complex, within the Great Barrier Reef.

Michaelmas term

Michaelmas term is the first academic term of the academic year in a number of English-speaking universities and schools in the northern hemisphere, especially in the United Kingdom. Michaelmas term derives its name from the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, which falls on 29 September. The term runs from September or October to Christmas.

Oxford University Chess Club

The Oxford University Chess Club (OUCC) was founded at the University of Oxford in 1869 and is the oldest university chess club in the United Kingdom. The Club meets each Wednesday evening during University term time. They field two teams in the Oxfordshire Chess League.

Symphyotrichum laeve

Symphyotrichum laeve (smooth blue aster, smooth aster, smooth-leaved aster, glaucous Michaelmas-daisy or glaucous aster) is a flowering plant native to Canada and the United States.

The Beatles' Christmas records

English rock group The Beatles sent out spoken and musical messages on flexi disc to members of their official fan clubs in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) each Christmas from 1963 to 1969. An LP compilation of all seven, titled From Then to You in the UK and The Beatles' Christmas Album in the US, was sent out in 1970.

Conceived as a means to appease fan-club members whose letters, due to their sheer volume, were not always being answered in a timely manner, the records included the Beatles' messages of thanks to "loyal Beatle people", along with skits, Christmas carols, and original compositions.

Until 2017, none of the original recordings had been subject to general release, though a version of "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)", an original composition which appeared in edited form on the 1967 record, eventually gained an official release in 1995, as part of The Beatles Anthology project. A vinyl box set of all the records was released in December 2017.

University of Cambridge Graduate Union

The University of Cambridge Graduate Union is the official graduate students' union at the University of Cambridge, England.

It is responsible for supporting graduate students and advocating issues via University committees and beyond.The University of Cambridge Graduate Union was the first students' union in Britain catering mostly to graduates. It publishes an annual Handbook with useful information on adjusting to life as a Cambridge graduate student, an online 'Alternative Prospectus' of the University of Cambridge (mostly for new members arriving in Michaelmas Term) and a weekly bulletin circulated to members throughout the year.

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