In the Orthodox Church, November 8 is the Feast of St. Michael and all the angels. We honor St. Michael as the healer of the sick, the protector of the Church, the patron of police, military, firefighters, and paramedics.
St. Michael’s Day Treats
St. Michael’s Day is often celebrated with special foods. When my children were small, I would sometimes get out the angel cookie cutter, and make angel-shaped sugar cookies for the feast.
In the British Isles, the feast of St. Michael and the angels is kept on September 29. In the past, a traditional Michaelmas meal likely would have included roasted goose, along with apples and carrots. In Germany or France, it might have been roasted duck instead of goose. In Italy, gnocchi were traditional on Michaelmas.
In Scotland, it was traditional to make bread for Michaelmas from equal parts of barley, oats, and rye. The bread would be blessed at church, and then distributed to the poor in the name of friends who were absent or who had died.
Blackberry pie for St. Michael’s Day
There was a folk belief that when St. Michael cast the devil out of heaven, the devil landed in a blackberry bramble, cursed the berries, spat on them, and made them bitter. Therefore, Michaelmas was the last day of the year to pick blackberries. And so it became customary to eat blackberry pie on Michaelmas.
Of course, blackberry season is over by the Orthodox feastday. But I’ve got blackberries in the freezer. And I could use them to make a blackberry pie. Or a a blackberry cobbler. Or even a blackberry trifle. Oh, and I could use angel food cake instead of pound cake. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Do you have any special foods that you fix on St. Michael’s Day? What do you eat on St. Michael’s Day?
Troparion of St. Michael
Commanders of the heavenly hosts,
we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
“Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commanders of the powers on high!”
Commanders of God’s armies and ministers of the divine glory,
princes of the bodiless angels and guides of mankind,
ask for what is good for us, and for great mercy,
supreme commanders of the Bodiless Hosts.
17 essential picture books for Orthodox Christian kids: If you’re looking for picture books that include stories about Orthodox Christian people and traditions, you’ll find them on this list.
Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken: The blessed Matushka Olga hasn’t yet been formally glorified, but when that happens, her feastday will be November 8. She is venerated especially among women, and among those who have suffered from abuse.
Justinian and Theodora: A Love Story: St. Theodora, the wife and co-ruler with St. Justinian the Great, is one of my very favorite saints.
Buy the Books!
These delightfully diverse books provide disability representation (Elizabeth, one of the main characters, is an ambulatory wheelchair user). They also give Orthodox Christian children the rare opportunity to see themselves in books, and children who are not Orthodox the chance to see cultural practices they may not be familiar with.
FINALIST IN THE 2015 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS
Catherine doesn’t like vegetables. She doesn’t like naps. She doesn’t like it when her mom combs her hair. She loves hot dogs, chocolate cake, and her best friend, Elizabeth. Most of all, she loves Pascha! Pascha, the Orthodox Christian Easter, is celebrated in the middle of the night, with processions and candles and bells and singing. And Catherine insists that she’s not a bit sleepy.
Celebrate the joy of Pascha through the magic of a book: Catherine’s Pascha. Available on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and my webstore.
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
Shoes or stockings? Horse or sleigh? Does St. Nicholas visit on December 6 or on Christmas Eve? Will a little girl’s prayer be answered? When Elizabeth has to stay at Catherine’s house, she’s worried about her grandmother, and worried that St. Nicholas won’t find her. The grownups, though, are worried about snow.
Celebrate the wonder of St. Nicholas Day through the magic of a book: The Saint Nicholas Day Snow. Available on Amazon, Bookshop.org, or my webstore.