The Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels on September 29 remains a somewhat mysterious feast day to me, perhaps rightly so, as it deals with otherworldly creatures, the “heavenly hosts.” The collect for the day sheds some light on what we can teach our children about the importance of this feast:
O Everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thine appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle reading for the day, from Revelation 12:7-12, reminds us that, “There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon… and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil.”
In our home, we have traditionally made a loaf of sweet bread, similar to challah, and shaped the dough into the shape of a dragon during the second rising. Any dough recipe will do; I particularly like this one. Whole almonds create fun spikes sticking out of the dragon’s back. Raisins can be used for eyes and toenails.
Our resulting dragon bread is “slayed” by one or other of the children, to remember how Michael and the other angels cast out the devil, and then we feast. We hope it is a reminder to our children of the heavenly beings who fight battles unseen to us, and for us; and a call to courage in our own lives, to face down the dragons we may encounter daily.
Some other fun ideas for Michaelmas:
- Make play swords for the kids, to use to “slay” the dragon
- Read the story of Saint George and the Dragon.
- Traditionally, the last blackberries of the year are picked on this day, as it was believed that the devil landed in a blackberry patch upon his expulsion from heaven.
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