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United Kingdom Harvest Festival

'Harvest Festival' as is popularly known, is one of the oldest festivals in United Kingdom. It began in churches in the year 1843, when Robert Hawker invited local parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at a church in Cornwall. This resulted in the custom of decorating churches with home-grown products. There is an ancient ceremony known as the “crying of the neck" which takes place in Cornwall. In the old times, the success of crops determined the success or failure of the people. The natives of UK pleased the God of fertility by offering him the first sheaf of corn. This was done to ensure a good harvest in the coming season. The last sheaf to be harvested is held up and blessed by the local vicar. It is said that the last sheaf of corn contains its spirit “Corn dolls" are made to symbolize Goddess of grain. The last sheaf used to be kept through the winter and then ploughed into the ground at the time of the next spring planting. During the festival, the entire community is invited for a dinner as part of the festivity. It is held every year in the month of September. This is however not declared a national holiday.

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