While much of North America simply calls the season fall (which, let’s be honest, is a bit on the nose), still another chunk of the English speaking world refers to the season between summer and winter as autumn. What gives?
The Etruscans gave the Romans the root autu- , which signified the ending of the year. The Romans being Romans, they took it for themselves, gave it a tweak, and declared the season was autumnus. Meanwhile, in Germanic languages outside of Roman influences, the word for harvest was used interchangeably for the act of harvest and the season. As Latin declined, Germanic languages began to influence more of Europe’s vocabulary. On top of this, people were starting to live in towns rather than on small scattered farms. For many in the centers of learning, harvest wasn’t a part of their experience and thus fall began to gain prominence. During the height of the term’s popularity in the 1600’s, English settlers brought the term over and influenced the way an entire continent noted the passing of the seasons.
Whether it’s autumn, fall, or harvest to you, the traditions in many cultures look strikingly similar. As days become chillier, and nights longer, people turn to bonfires, feasts, and comfort food to prep themselves for winter. No wonder than that so many the world over count autumn as their favorite season!
Have a Fun Fall, a Happy Harvest, and an Auspicious Autumn!
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