Cayman Prep and High School students are set to hold a special service this Thursday, 18 October.
The Harvest Festival service, which will be held in the school hall, aims to keep alive the tradition of giving thanks for a successful harvest. Both the infant and junior choirs will sing special songs for the service, while the primary school band will perform.
Students are being asked to prepare decorated boxes containing items of fruit, vegetables, bread and bottled or canned goods, which, with the assistance of the Cayman Islands Department of Children and Family Services, will be distributed to needy individuals and families throughout the territory.
“While we don’t have the seasons here, it is a reminder of how fortunate we are in Cayman and the unlimited amount of food we have,” said Sue Horrocks, head of junior school. “We held a harvest festival last year for the first time in many years, which was a great success. The Department of Children and Family Services took away about three trucks loads of food. It’s a great way for the children to contribute to the community and to recognise that there are children here in Cayman that go hungry on a regular basis.”
The Department of Children and Family Services said that during the year the agency has assisted 825 families with food.
“The Department of Children and Family Services values the dedication and work of the staff, the children and their parents from Cayman Prep and High School in doing this Harvest Festival food drive every year,” said Alicia Dixon, director of the department. “My staff and I would like to thank them all for their remarkable generosity and the care they show for those in need. The food baskets donated will go to helping those most in need in our community.”
With plentiful amounts of food available year round in supermarkets, it’s easy to forget that not that long ago a poor harvest resulted in hunger for many people.
During the months of September and October, countries around the world typically hold harvest festivals, with celebrations spanning sit down feasts to church services. These festivals have their roots in celebrating a successful harvest and the freedom it brings from no longer having to work the fields.
In the United Kingdom, thanks has been given for successful harvests since pagan times and it is believed that the church started celebrating successful harvests from the mid-1800s. Worshippers typically bring baskets of fruit and vegetables as a way of showing thanks. Traditionally, the food is then distributed to the poor, or sold to raise money for the church.
Both Canada and the United States also hold harvest festivals, known as Thanksgiving, with both countries having adopted it as a national holiday.