'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. 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 ritual of offering an animal sacrifice, generally a hare, is accompanied with the cutting of last sheaf of corn. It is said that the last sheaf of corn contains its spirit. "corn dolls" are made to symbolize Goddess of grain. The entire community is invited for a celebratory dinner as part of the festivity. It is held every year in the month of September, on a Sunday nearing the harvest moon. This festival is however not declared a national holiday.
The celebrations continue till date in the rural communities. Children
sing hymns, and gift fruits and vegetables. Distribution of fruits and
vegetables also takes place in local communities.