What do we Celebrate in Autumn and Why – 2023 Edition

In this 5 minute read (ok, maybe 10 minutes, why not grab a warm drink!), I explore the traditional autumn seasonal celebrations in the UK, adopting the Scandinavian practice of hygge and delve into some of the global traditions during the autumn months.

September 2023 – Leanne Nuttall


leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

night and shorten day;

leaf speaks bliss to me

from the autumn tree.
” – Emily Brontë.

Autumn is one of the seasons which is similar to Marmite, people seem to either love it or hate it. Those that are not looking forward to the shortening days and enclosing cooler, inevitably wetter weather have a valid dislike to the season. It can seem depressing when the leaves are making the tree canopies bare, fruits and other harvests have been gathered for the year and the sun makes fleeting appearances.

However thinking positively, there is a reassuring beauty in watching the tree leaves transition from luscious shades of green to warming yellows, oranges and deep reds! There is a wondrous youthfulness in shuffling, jumping and crunching through the piles of fallen leaves that collect on the ground, occasionally being whisked up into the chillier air by the wind as if calling for a final playtime before the real colds of winter set in! It’s a comforting prelude, Mother nature’s calling sign that soon it will be time for rest and reflection after the bustle and growth of summer.

Autumn Leaves on Trees
Autumn Leaves on Trees in Milton Keynes 2022

What Is The Autumn Equinox?

In simple terms in the Northern hemisphere when the halfway mark between the longest and shortest day of the year occurs, the autumn equinox begins. The number of hours of night and day are almost even due to the position of the sun on the equator. It typically falls between the 22nd and 23rd of September, occurring on the morning of the 23rd this year (2023) marking the start of the season which will last until winter begins on December 22nd.

At Stonehenge on Saturday 23rd September, Pagan, Druid and other people gather together in the early morning to observe the sunrise. This ancient structure was built to align with the sun’s movements and has become a focal area for English New Age Tribes and ordinary folk to celebrate together in a ritual that has taken place for generations.

What are the Traditional UK Celebrations in Autumn?

The Harvest Moon – This particular moon will be the last supermoon of the year and is named the Harvest moon as it happens closest to the autumn equinox. As the name suggests, the full phases of this moon allows more light for the harvests in the fields to be gathered. It is set to appear on Thursday 28th September and reaches its peak the following morning. This moon should be visible due to its vibrant red orange hue and will be most bright and large because it is at its nearest point in orbit to the Earth. Autumn also brings two other moons which are aptly named. Hunter’s Moon on October 29th close to Halloween and the Frost Moon on November 27th.

Harvest Festival – The ancient British tradition of this festival celebrates all the gathered crops of the year and people give thanks showing gratitude for the food they have that will last them through colder months until the spring can offer more fresh crops. It is am important date in the farming calendar and is typically celebrated on the Sunday of the Harvest Moon (or closest to) which this year in 2023 is October 1st. In English schools it is common practice to bring in cupboard food donations such as tinned food, cereals or dry goods to donate to others less fortunate.

Changing of the Clocks – The British love to hate this ‘time honoured’ tradition. They love it when the clocks go back by an hour, meaning an extra hour in bed to enjoy on the last Sunday of October (29th). They hate it because it means yet again for the second time in the year, the clocks have to be reset and natural body clocks and routines now have to readjust to the evenings getting darker earlier!

HalloweenThe origins of this annual celebration date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-unn) to mark the end of the summer harvest. It has been Christianised along the way and became known as Halloween from the Scottish term for All Hallows Eve which is the day before All Saints’ Day. Traditions such as lighting bonfires to ward of evil spirits and lay dinner places at their tables for good spirits were surpassed from the 16 century onwards in favour of the more commonly known dressing up and trick or treating shenanigans. Although back then the costumes would have been to protect themselves from spirits and folk knocked door to door asking for food in exchange for songs or poems (which sounds more akin to carol singing but was actually called ‘souling’). The Victorians used to make a pastry which was a cross between a biscuit and a cake called a ‘soul cake’, but nowadays it is typically sweets and chocolate that are offered. The modern tradition of pumpkin carving has come across from the USA and visits to local pumpkin patches are common place in October now. In our home we do love exploring a patch to bring home odd looking pumpkins and squash for carving. I’ve even been know to try crafting decorations such as a fairy skeleton and eyeball flowers!

Bonfire Night – “Remember remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot, I see no reason why the gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot”. Back in 1605 a man called Guy Fawkes formed part of a group of people who planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder in a bid to rid the country of King James I and his government, henceforth called the Gunpowder plot. Each year ever since on the anniversary (5th November) large bonfires are lit, often topped with a ‘guy’ which is a scarecrow effigy of the ring leader and fireworks are set off to celebrate the failed attempt.

Remembrance SundayIs held on the second Sunday in November closest to Armistice Day (11th November anniversary of the end of World War I in 1918) and now acts as a commemorative day to remember all the British and Commonwealth servicemen and woman in both World Wars. Local war memorials across the country are adorned with red poppies and wreaths whilst at 11am, two minutes of silence is observed. Towns and villages also opt for parades and processions including the national march-past at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London which is well attended by members of the Royal family.

Remembrance Day Drawn Poppy Pictures
Remembrance Day drawn poppy pictures - 2020

Christmas AdventModern life has managed to overshadow the original meaning of advent as we typically gear up with our advent calendars to begin the countdown to Christmas Day on December 1st. However advent actually starts the Sunday closest to Saint Andrew’s Day (30th November) to begin a 4 week reflection and prayer countdown to the birth of Jesus with the word advent coming from the Latin word meaning ‘arrival’. Today’s practice using 24 or 25 days of ‘gifts’ as a countdown come in a plethora of options from traditional chocolate or picture behind a window, to gifts or even eco-friendly reusable felt or wooden one (we can thank Germany for coming up with this idea). During advent nowadays it is common to partake in festive events like Christmas light switch ons, nativity plays or pantomimes, visit Christmas fetes and markets, sing carols, or take the children to see Santa

Wooden Advent Calendar & Elves
Wooden Advent Calendar & Elves that we use each year 2020

My New Tradition to Embrace Hygge in Autumn

It was last year I came across the Scandinavian practice of Hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-ga’. It is a Danish word that in general terms means a comfortable cosy feeling. I personally have never responded well to the changing in temperatures from warmer seasons to the colder ones and whether its because I grew up in the Middle East or perhaps I suffer with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), at my age the “why” no longer concerns me but how I can live through it does.

Naturally the idea of leaning into activities that make me feel good when the weather seemingly is less fair is a winner. The Scandinavian culture of surrounding ourselves with enjoyable company, food, laughter and atmosphere came easily and created a positive mindset for the impending seasonal festivities occurring at the end of autumn turning into a Christmassy winter.

We embraced the warmth with blankets, worshipped the daylight in nature and the nights by candlelight with activities such as climbing trees, changing into our pyjamas once we got home from the school run and making delicious root vegetable soup.

My daughter and I created a grid with space for 35 Hygge style activities which we will bring out every autumn now!

“In the other gardens

And all up the vale,

From the Autumn bonfires

See the smoke trails!

Pleasant summer over

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!”

– Robert Louis Stevenson – Autumn Fires

Autumn Hygge 35 Day Challenge
Autumn Hygge 35 Day Challenge 2022

What other Celebrations happen during the months of Autumn across the Globe?


  • Germany, Munich – Oktoberfest starts at the end of the summer typically ending on the first Sunday in October making it one of the few global festivals that spans two seasons. This year (the 188th Oktoberfest) began on the 16th September and finished on the 3rd October. Whilst is it synonymous for gallons of beer being consumed, the largest folk festival in the world actually has commemorative origins. The first festival began in the 12th October in 1810 marking the marriage of the Bavarian crown prince to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (he later became King Louis I). The famous Theresienwiese (Therese’s green) is named after a horse race, there is a funfair and there is plenty of Bavarian music filling the air.

  • Spain, BarcelonaLa Mercè festival of festivals is famous for its street parades with giant humans, music and dancing, fireworks and human towers which is a unique Catalan tradition. This ancient festival dates back to the Middle Ages (1902) and for 5 days the streets are heaving with people celebrating and rejoicing bidding farewell to the summer whilst welcoming the autumn. In Catalan the word ‘mercè’ refers to sympathy, help, service, tender mercy and as such is a religious holiday to honour the Virgin of Grace.


  • France, Nuit Blanch – The night without sleep happens in Paris for one night only. This spectacular show held on the first Saturday in October is an arts and cultural event created just over 20 years ago. Streets are filled with works created by local and foreign artists from sculptures to light shows and projections, concerts to abstract installations.

  • USA, New York – Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is the largest Halloween event in the world with thousands of scarily costumed people taking to the streets of Sixth Avenue on All Hallows Eve with music, floats, giant puppets and treats.


  • Thanksgiving – A holiday that tends to be thought of as American. It’s origins lie in the English traditions of the Harvest festivals and the religious ceremonies of giving thanks to what have been received throughout the year, brought to the United States with the European settlers. A holiday marked with traditions of gathering together family, feasting on a meal of typically turkey, attending church services and perhaps parades and watching special sporting events. Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, but other countries such as Canada, Germany and even Norfolk Island in Australia celebrate on different dates in October and November.


  • Black Friday & Cyber MondayThe Black Friday sales event has been an annual event in America for a number of decades occurring on the Friday after Thanksgiving as a way for companies to increase sales in the period leading up to Christmas. It’s roots are in bricks and mortar stores but with the increases in online shopping, Cyber Monday developed. It was a phrase adopted by the National Retail Federation in 2005 after online only retailers such as Amazon and eBay felt left out of the shopping frenzies. Huge discounts are to be had on both shopping days with many customers waiting all year to gain their bargains from this now global phenomenon.

  • HanukkahThis is an 8 day and night Jewish celebratory Festival of Lights starting on the 25th day of Kislev (the 9th month of the Hebrew calendar) and usually falls late in November or mid December. The word itself means ‘re-dedication’ and marks a miracle that occurred in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. where light won over the darkness. For each night of Hanukkah a candle is lit in a menorah, a special candlestick which holds space for nine candles, with blessings and prayers recited. Gifts are exchanged, songs will be sung, games played including ones with a dreidel (a spinning top with four sides), and special foods eaten like doughnuts, pancakes or latkes which is similar to a potato fritter.

Thank you so much for reading!

How can Bloomin’ Sweet Delights help you celebrate?

During autumn months our Halloween bouquet always makes an impact at parties or trick or treat night! Our alternative sweet bouquet advent calendar excited households last year with the added delight of unwrapping each edible treat! Email hello@bloominsweetdelights.co.uk to order either of these for your celebrations!

We create a variety of confectionery gifts suitable for that special person, occasion or celebration in your life including:

* Valentines * New Home * Easter
* Baby Showers * Christmas * Birthday
* Christenings *Children’s Parties
* Mothers & Fathers Day * Anniversary
* Graduation Good Luck *Hen / Stag
* Thank You * Wedding Congratulation

We can cater for specific taste buds – Sweet, Savoury, Dark Chocolate, Mint, Orange…Or those with special dietary needs such as Nut Allergy, Coeliac or Gluten Free. We have regularly made bouquets to suit vegetarian, dairy-free and Halal diets!

Whether it’s a bouquet, sweet cone, chocolate centre fabric flower, filled mugs or sweet jar, we have gifts as unique as the person they are being created for.

The confectionery won’t last long, but the feelings from the gesture will!

If you would like to see more of what I make, head over to the Bloomin’ Sweet Delight Instagram or Facebook profiles and be sure to follow & like for all the latest updates, offers and sweet delights! If you are local to the area and would like to know more about placing an order follow this link to the How to order pages on the website: