I first heard about Michaelmas through Haley’s blog, and have seen and read more and more about it over the past several months. It is a feast day with such rich tradition and interesting history, I knew I wanted to celebrate it in a fun way with the girls this year.
I decided to go all in and invite the Super Friend Family over to make it even more fabulous.
Traditionally on Michaelmas, folks have served goose and carrots and blackberries. I couldn’t find a goose (not for lack of trying)
so I made cornish game hens instead, with this recipe. I had never made this particular recipe before, and it’s been a few years since the last time I cooked a cornish hen, but this was easy and quite yummy (and made enough to feed four adults and seven children). I also made whisky glazed carrots from this recipe, which were amazing, and blackberry cobbler from this recipe. I literally decided to throw together the cobbler Sunday night at 9:00, and I’m glad I did. It was very easy and so good.
I love the story of why people eat blackberries on Michaelmas. The legend goes that, when St. Michael cast satan from heaven, he fell into a blackberry bush (satan, not St. Michael). He was angry, and he cursed and spat on the blackberries. So, tradition says to eat all the available blackberries on Michaelmas, because after that day they will taste bitter from satan cursing and spitting on them.
The food was good. The company was excellent. Before dinner the kids colored archangel pictures I copied from various coloring books I have. I happened to have a coloring page for each of the archangels, which I was quite excited about because St. Raphael tends to be the archangel that no one mentions much, and I wanted to be sure to have something to celebrate him, because he is the patron of our home parish.
The big fun, however, happened after dinner. I stole Kendra’s idea and got a piñata of the devil for the kids to beat up on. I found one to order on Etsy in this shop. I don’t see the original listing in the shop anyone, but it was for a DareDevil character piñata, which looked like it had a mask on and a slightly smiling face. I asked the artist to make it a bit more devil-like. She did a great job.
I put some candy in the body of this guy and the kids went to town on it.
I thought for sure that the bigger kids would smash it open in no time.
But this piñata was actually made a bit too strong. They went around and around, taking turns banging on it, and it just wouldn’t open. Finally I suggested putting it on the ground to give them better aim and leverage on the thing.
Even that didn’t really work. They made some holes in it, but not enough for the candy to spill out all over the floor. I think perhaps grown men with baseball bats could have smashed it open, but not children six and under with a segment of Swiffer Sweeper handle. The good news about that is that it is still intact enough that I will be able to salvage it and reuse it for next year.
I the end the dads ripped it open a bit where the kids had made the holes and dumped the candy on the floor. The kids didn’t seem to care. They got candy. They got to take many turns whacking the devil. They got to stay up past bedtime on a school night (seriously, it took forever to get that piñata open!). I think a good time was had by all.
At one point in the evening, I believe between dinner and dessert, I heard Lass in the next room, leading all the kids in a rousing cheer for St. Michael. “Three cheers for St. Michael!” she yelled. And all of them chimed in, “Hip-hip Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray!”
I think we have a new yearly tradition.