The last day of the Ginger and Spice Festival falls on Michaelmas Day, also know as ‘the feast of St Michael and all angels’ which traditionally celebrates the end of the harvest. Taking place on the 29th of September every year as it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.
Traditionally, in the British Isles, a well fattened goose, fed on the stubble from the fields after the harvest, is eaten to protect against financial need in the family for the next year; and as the saying goes:
“Eat a goose on Michaelmas Day,
Want not for money all the year”.
Sometimes the day was also known as “Goose Day” and goose fairs were held. Even now, the famous Nottingham Goose Fair is still held on or around the 3rd of October. Part of the reason goose is eaten is that it was said that when Queen Elizabeth I heard of the defeat of the Armada, she was dining on goose and resolved to eat it on Michaelmas Day. Others followed suit. It could also have developed through the role of Michaelmas Day as the debts were due; tenants requiring a delay in payment may have tried to persuade their landlords with gifts of geese!
Festivities in Market Drayton
We won’t be fattening a goose at this year’s Ginger and Spice Festival, but we will be celebrating our culinary heritage, our links to spice and gingerbread and all that is seasonal at the Spice Exchange Street Market on Saturday 29th September. All of this will be taking place during British Food Fortnight.
Coincidentally this year, the 29th September also marks the birthday anniversary of Clive of India who hails from the town of Market Drayton & secured the spice trade routes for Britain in the 18th century. We hope that you will join us in raising a celebratory glass of Kolkata Ale in his honor!