Everyone in Mifflin County knows about Goose Day, but do you know why we celebrate it? Here's a short history lesson:
The Medieval Period is also known as The Middle Ages. It lasted for 1,000 years, from the 5th century until the 15th century (the 400s until the 1400s). During this time, people celebrated Michaelmas, or the Feast of St. Michael, as a religious festival.
Michaelmas also happened to be the time of year when peasants paid their rent to the landowners. A peasant would come to the landlord's castle or manor house with rent, which could be paid in currency or, more often, a portion of the crops from the fall harvest. The peasant would also bring a stubble goose for the landlord's table, to ensure that the lease would be renewed for the coming year.
When the British began to colonize the United States in the 1600s, they brought the tradition with them. The only place in the US where it is still celebrated is in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, where there is a large population of people with British and Scots-Irish heritage. A local tenant farmer is credited with bringing the custom here. Read more about him at http://www.juniatarivervalley.org/ .
In modern times, Michaelmas is called Goose Day, for the traditional goose dinner Mifflin Countians have on this day. Many restaurants in the area have a "goose day special." Eating goose on September 29 is said to bring good luck in the coming year. Other festivities include a 5K run and a "Wild Goose Chase," which is a county-wide scavenger hunt in which teams of people pile into cars and head out in search of clues. Another tradition is that a police officer will pull over a random car with out-of-state license plates, tell the occupants of the car that they will need to be "taken in," and then treat them to a surprise goose dinner at a local restaurant.