The golden autumn

Let’s make the most of it

Summer 2021 is already over and autumn has begun. But let’s not be sad about it, we should be happy and look back on a wonderful summer.  And don’t forget: many people don’t enjoy the hot weather much, and are now looking forward to a golden autumn. 

Summer’s over, autumn is here

Many of us are in the middle of the autumn break, and for many others it’s already over. Autumn also has a beautiful side just waiting to be discovered. The leaves on the trees are changing colour, and many types of fruit and grain are ripe and ready to be harvested. But one person’s joy is another’s sorrow: this saying is particularly true of autumn. Around a quarter of people find that their mood starts to drop at this time of year, and for some it even develops into seasonal depression, also known as the autumn blues.

“Sufferers feel listless and withdraw from social life. They sleep more and eat more carbohydrates”, says psychotherapist and neuroscientist Markus Heinrichs, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Freiburg. But that’s not going to be the focus of our article.

The beautiful side of autumn

Let’s look forward to beautiful autumn outings and walks through rustling autumn leaves. We can fly kites, pick chestnuts and mushrooms and enjoy many other activities. October also often brings several warm days when it’s still pleasant to sit outside. In German-speaking countries, we call this the “Altweibersommer”, which in North America is known as the “Indian summer”.

In 2018, there were 160 hours of sunshine in October, and on some days the daytime temperature remained above 25 degrees all day. The weather can even stay beautiful and warm until the end of November. At no other time of year is nature bathed in such a beautiful, golden light as in autumn.

Well, we don’t want to shut our doors tight, we want to make the most of autumn. At tea time, why not enjoy a glass of Federweißer new wine and a slice of onion cake, whether in a café or at home. Like winter, autumn is the classic time for tea, and delicious fruit teas are finally back on the menu. Or why not enjoy cooking with family and friends again? At home, for a change! We’ve spent all summer on the terraces of restaurants and cafes.

Seasonal autumn vegetables

It’s time to head to the weekly market, buy some fresh seasonal vegetables and try out grandma’s old recipes. Autumn offers a range of delicious vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale, red cabbage, white cabbage, savoy cabbage, salsify, beans, broccoli, beetroot and pumpkin. Cabbage lovers in particular get their money’s worth in autumn.

It’s also the season for mushrooms such as chanterelles, chestnut mushrooms and porcini mushrooms. And if you lack cooking skills, you can finally attend that long-planned cookery course with friends. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to conjure up stews, roulades, pasta with pumpkin, fried gnocchi, Brussels sprouts or a tarte flambée with pear and Gorgonzola? And it’s fun, too!

Fruit that ripens in autumn

Let’s look forward to the many types of fruit that ripen in autumn. It’s the perfect time to try all the local varieties. Head to the weekly market, or even better, find a fruit grower and pick your own.

The trees and bushes are laden with fruit, waiting to be picked. You can pick raspberries, blackberries, grapes, plums, pears, apples, cranberries and elderberries until late October. And don’t forget about chestnuts and hazelnuts! We are in no doubt that picking fruit together with friends and family will be good for you. The highlight of the harvest season is the harvest festival, when we can celebrate together and express our gratitude for the gifts of nature.

Bookworm time

The rainy autumn days are the perfect time to become a bookworm again. Curl up with a good book under a warm blanket: this autumn promises to be an exciting season for new releases, and we will shortly be presenting our own book recommendations. Cuddled up on the sofa, you can relax, listen to the rain and lose yourself in your books.

Autumn traditions

Autumn has a long tradition of festivals, celebrations and activities that are celebrated right up until 21 December.

In many countries, children especially look forward to St. Martin’s Day, the “Feast of St. Martin” on 11 November. In Germany, the streets ring with the refrain “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne und meine Laterne mit mir…” (“I’ll go with my lantern and my lantern with me…”).  But first of all, families have to make their colourful lanterns. You don’t need much to make a lantern: a base and a lid (for example from an empty cheese box), tracing paper, cardboard, a little wire, scissors and glue, and hey presto. After dark, children and families take their lanterns and go singing from house to house, or join a lantern parade through the streets to carry the “radiant message” of St. Martin through the darkness. The kids are given lots of sweets. The tradition goes back to Bishop Martin von Tours, who, according to legend, shared his cloak with a beggar.

Many people are already looking forward to the St. Martin’s goose, which plays an important role in the legends of St. Martin. Allegedly, Saint Martin is said to have hidden in a goose barn to avoid being appointed bishop. But he was betrayed by the chattering geese. According to the legend, this is why they end up on our plates to this day. A likely story! But they taste great anyway, preferably in the company of friends and family.

Another autumn tradition is St. Nicholas’ Day, which goes back to the Byzantine bishop Nicholas of Myra. St. Nicholas’ Day was not always popular with all children: children who had supposedly been good were given presents, while the naughty ones were reprimanded. But that’s no longer the case: these days on 6 December, every child in Germany can look forward to a boot filled with sweets or small gifts that traditionally appears at the front door in the morning.

An autumn pleasure that everyone can enjoy is kite-flying. Now that the wind is getting stronger, it’s time to get out the colourful kites that you can buy or make yourself. Fans of kite-flying organise numerous kite festivals in autumn, and it doesn’t even need to be a public holiday.

Other ideas for autumn include enjoying a long-postponed museum visit, going to a flea market, sorting the photos from your summer holidays, or simply writing letters to friends. Autumn is the perfect time for this, when it gets a little colder outside. One of our favourite autumn customs is the way people decorate their apartment doors with pumpkins and bouquets of berries and straw.

Fans of fresh air in particular look forward to autumn. What could be more pleasant than walking for hours through the rustling leaves of our forests and enjoying nature? You are bound to come across birds, hedgehogs and other small wild animals. Autumn has only just begun, and we’re sure to come up with a few more stories.

We wish you a good start to the autumn 2021 season! Stay healthy.

Sebastian Kneipp
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