Celebrating Autumn

Four Scents Team


The light becomes a little more golden. First thing in the morning, dew appears on the ground. The air is cooler with that unmistakable earthy tinge. Without a doubt the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” that poet John Keats memorably wrote about is upon us. The word that summarises those verses and this season for us is “harmony”. Collins Dictionary defines this as “a combination of parts into a pleasing or orderly whole; congruity” and “agreement in feeling, actions, ideas, interests etc.; peaceable or friendly relations”. Simply put, things go together well. The satisfaction of a good harvest, a sense of new beginnings and the burst of fiery colour in the changing leaves harmoniously work together in this season of calm and clarity.

What does Autumn signify?

Reminiscent of the start of term, there’s an innate urge to have a fresh start or change; whether it’s a new project, vocation or learning something new. The nights drawing in sees the hibernation of small mammals, such as hedgehogs, bats and dormice as well as many insects, amphibians and reptiles. Instinctively, we hunker down and focus on making the home environment cosy. The bounty of fresh food inspires slowing down and cooking hearty recipes, nourishing our bodies and minds. Warm on the inside, we wrap up on the outside, snuggling into jumpers and scarves. Migrating birds prompt movement in us, too. Perhaps this looks like a change of scenery or a long walk on crisp morning, making the most of the warm, low light.
Autumn Celebrations Moon Festival

Moon Festival

On the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, on the night of the full moon nearest to the Autumnal Equinox, China celebrates the Moon Festival. Also known as the Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival, this marks the end of the autumn harvest. This tends to fall from mid-September to early October, when the Chinese believe that the moon is at its fullest and brightest. Celebrated for over 3,000 years, this festival boasts many regional customs. Making and sharing Mooncakes is an integral tradition, a rich pastry filled with lotus-seed paste, egg yolk, meat or sweet-bean. The round shape is a symbol of completeness and reunion, being shared out among family members. Cassia wine is the “reunion drink” of choice, due to the timing of the blossom on this plant, with cassia candy also being popular. Lotus roots feature in dishes to symbolise peace, with watermelons cut in a lotus shape represent reunion. Lanterns make a huge part of the festival too, carrying them or lighting them on towers, as well as floating sky lanterns. These are a symbol of beacons lighting people’s paths to prosperity and good fortune. Traditionally, a riddle is written on them and others have to guess the answers. Other traditions include dragon dances, matchmaking and courtship, gift giving and visiting friends and relatives. The three main concepts are gathering (both crops and family), thanksgiving and praying (for a good future or material satisfaction), tying together to celebrate harmony.

Autumn Celebrations Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

The new year begins in early autumn in Jewish culture (so it’s not just about school!), known as Rosh Hashanah (literally meaning “head of the year”) and is a two-day celebration. It is usually determined by the new moon closest to the autumnal equinox, either in September or October. In the agricultural societies of the ancient Near East, it marked the beginning of the time of sowing the seed and bringing in the harvest. Following the Torah’s prescription to “raise a noise”, musical instruments made from hollowed out ram’s horns (a shofar) are sounded at various points during prayers. It’s a symbolic wake-up call inviting the people to mend their ways and turn in a new direction. Attending special synagogue services are part of the custom, including specific prayers, readings and blessings. The ritual of Tashlikh is observed, where prayers are recited near flowing water, casting bread or pebbles into the water to symbolise the casting off of wrongdoings. Food and gathering form a central part of the celebrations, rich in symbolism. Pomegranates represent being fruitful and round challah bread symbolises the circle of the year. Dates, leek fritters, gourd, black-eyes peas and spinach are mentioned in traditional Jewish law and form part of the platter. A whole fish with the head intact symbolises being” the head and not the tail” (a traditional prayer). On the second night, new fruits are served to warrant a special blessing. This celebration marks the harmony of community as well as a fresh start and a positive new direction.
Autumn Celebrations Oktoberfest


 How can we mention autumnal celebrations without Oktoberfest? This is world’s largest celebration of Bavarian culture (the southeast corner of Germany), and the city of Munich is central to the festivities. This sixteen-to-eighteen-day folk festival runs from late September to around the first Sunday in October, being held since 1810. The precise origins are disputed, but it’s based on horse races and festivities held to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig 1 and the decision to repeat them annually in 1819, which grew as years went by. Since 1950, the tradition is to open the festival at 12:00 by the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer by the mayor, offering the first litre to the Minister-President of Bavaria. There is eager anticipation and bets are even made how many strokes are needed before the first beer flows! Then there is a 12-gun salute which signals the other restauranteurs to start serving the beer. There is also a traditional costume parade which is one of the highlights. It is led by notables of the city council and the state of Bavaria, traditional costume (Dirndl dresses and Lederhosen) wearers and rifle clubs, musical and marching bands, flag-wavers and decorated horses and carts. There are tents serving various food and drink specialities with an emphasis on the local and traditional, such as cheese, dumplings, and a selection of meats. This lively festival is a harmonious celebration of culture.

Autumn Celebrations Dia de los Muertos

Dia De Los Muertos

Another significant tradition is the Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Muertos that is celebrated in Mexico on either 1st or 2nd November. Related to All Saints and All Souls Days, this is viewed as a day of celebration rather than mourning. Family and friends gather to pay respects to those who have died, taking on a humorous tone, remembering funny events and stories about them. One of the main traditions is to build a private altar to the departed, on which there are photos, memorabilia and their favourite food and drinks. During this time, families clean and decorate graves, marigold being the flower of choice. They are thought to attract the souls of the dead to their offerings, thanks to its bright petals and strong scent. The offerings consist of trinkets or food, such as a sweet egg bread called pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sugar skulls or candied pumpkin; or drinks, such as tequila. The living also enjoy these and other traditional foods. Children in costumes knock on doors for calaverita, a small gift of money or sweets. The humorous part of the celebration takes the form of a poem called the calaveras literarias, a light-hearted mock epitaph dedicated to a friend, family member, co-worker or classmate. The Catrina character (a skeletal figure with a large hat, dress and boa), created by the Mexican illustrator Posada, has become a prominent character associated with the festival with people wearing this costume as part of their observances. Harmony is represented here in togetherness, remembrance and joy.
Autumn Celebrations Diwali


Diwali is the most important post-harvest festivals in India. It coincides with the new moon, being deemed the darkest night at the end of the Hindu lunisolar month (between mid-October and early November). Diwali symbolises the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, with homes, temples and workplaces illuminated with candles and lanterns. A bonding and homecoming celebration, communities, associations and families organise activities, events and gatherings. Community parades feature in towns, with music and dance performances are held in parks. Diwali is also marked by decorating the floor with rangoli designs, an art form creating patterns with coloured fine powder. Each day has a specific activity; day one (Dhanteras) consists of cleaning and decorating; day two (Naraka Chaturdashi) is a major day for purchasing festive foods, especially sweets. Day three (Lakshmi Pujan) is the height of the festival – the last day of the dark fortnight. Temples are lit up and youngest family members visit grandparents. In the evening, best outfits will be worn, prayers will be offered and even more lamps are lit. Some are placed in rows along parapets and others are set adrift on rivers, then fireworks are lit and the family get together for a feast. Day four (Balipratipada) celebrates the bond between wife and husband, with husbands giving their wives gifts, or parents of newlyweds invite them to a meal and give gifts. Day five (Bhai Duj) celebrates the brother-sister bond, where women of the family gather to pray for the wellbeing of their brothers, and return to a ritual of hand feeding their brothers, as well as receiving gifts. Diwali celebrates many elements of harmony.

Autumn Celebrations Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong

Following the theme of lights, this season can’t go by without the mention of Thailand’s Loy Krathong festival. It takes place on the evening of the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai lunar calendar. The date varies, but it usually falls in November. The meaning of Loy Krathong is “to float a ritual vessel or lamp”. A krathong is a small floating container made to hold a small portion of food, and decorated with three incense sticks, a candle and intricately folded banana leaves. They are launched on the river and Thais make a wish as they do this. The krathong floating away symbolises letting go of anger and misdeeds. They also use this as an opportunity to thank the Goddess of the water Ganga. There are beauty competitions held called Noppamas Queen Contests, and the festival coincides with the northern Thai festival of Yi Peng. This is where swarms of sky lanterns (khom loi) are launched into the air. They are made from a thin fabric (e.g., rice paper) and stretched over a wire or bamboo frame, in which a fuel cell or candle is attached. The hot air is trapped and causes the lantern to lift and float into the sky. People also decorate their temples, gardens and houses with intricately shaped paper lanterns. Other festivities include firework displays, music, street food and local fairs. These festivities mark a fresh start, celebrating harmony going forward.
Autumn can be viewed through the lens of these different celebrations as a season of homecoming, harvest, lights in the darkening days and new beginnings. At Four Scents Botanical, we wanted to reflect this more contemplative season with earthier tones and a comforting element, blending herbaceous and woody botanicals. They invoke the atmosphere of bracing walks followed by the warmth of a roaring fire. This fragrance will enhance the cosiness of the home environment, whether it be candles to cheer the darker evenings or diffusers and room mists to gently infuse the mellow scent throughout. Sense the season of harmony for yourself with our beautiful collection of oils, bath salts and home fragrance.



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