There’s nothing quite like fall in the Midwest. In Illinois, residents are able to enjoy the complete “fall experience” starting in September as the leaves change color all the way through November when many people celebrate Thanksgiving with a nice meal and maybe even some football.
The fall season also represents the perfect time to partake in some outdoor activities before the cold of winter arrives in December. Just don’t forget to bring along a warm sweater or coat!
We All Celebrate Fall in Different Ways
The more you know about the fall season the easier it is to appreciate it. We have gathered some fall facts to get you in the mood for autumn. They also make for fun conversation starters!
Harvest Moon & the Autumnal Equinox
While some people associate the start of fall with the arrival of pumpkin spice flavored treats, the majority of us recognize the true start of the season based on the timing of the autumnal equinox. It is the day when the earth is perfectly angled sideways to the sun. September 22 will mark the beginning of the fall season for those of us in the northern hemisphere in 2021 and 2022.
Meanwhile, here in the northern hemisphere, we refer to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox as the harvest moon. In 2021, the harvest moon will occur on September 20.
And if you want to celebrate either occasion, there are several fun ways to do so.
- Mabon is pagan holiday that celebrates the autumnal equinox. It includes a harvest festival that celebrates the gathering of crops and the bounty of earth. To celebrate this day, pagans might pick apples. They are a common symbol of the second harvest.
- The Moon Festival, a major celebration in China and other Asian countries, coincides with the harvest moon. Traditional ways of celebrating include family reunions, moon gazing and sharing “moon cakes” — round pastries filled with a variety of sweet fillings.
Beyond Mabon and the Moon Festival, there are a number of other ways that cultures around the world celebrate the equinox and harvest moon. Of course, you could also just go apple picking, if you are able to get out and do so. September is the perfect time to visit the orchard.
The word Halloween comes from All Hallows’ Eve — the second night of a festival called Samhain, dating back to the pagans in Ireland. When you think of Halloween in the U.S., which falls on October 31 each year, you may think of costumes, candy and jack-o-lanterns. Many of these traditions stemmed from the Samhain festival. Though, at first, people carved turnips instead of pumpkins! Eventually immigrants that settled in America made the switch.
Speaking of pumpkins, October is also the perfect time to visit your local pumpkin patch. Experts agree that the best time to go pumpkin picking is during the first two weeks of October. Though if you want jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, you should wait until a few days before to carve them.
A harvest festival is an annual celebration that occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Many cultures celebrate harvest around the time of the harvest moon. In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving each year on the fourth Thursday of November.
Similar to other harvest festivals, Thanksgiving celebrations typically feature feasting. In the U.S. that means plenty of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, among other staples. Americans enjoy food so much on Thanksgiving that we consume 3,000 to 4,500 calories, on average!
Fall Events & Activities in the Chicago Suburbs
There are plenty of ways to celebrate fall in the Chicago suburbs, including right here in Downers Grove where our Oak Trace senior living community is located. The Downers Grove Park District Harvest Fest< takes place on Saturday, September 28 at Fishel Park. Those in the neighborhood can ring in the season at this annual outdoor event that includes a wide range of live music.
Those who have access to transportation can head west to pick apples at Honey Hill Orchard over in nearby DeKalb County. And it is about an hour drive to Pumpkin Daze at Abbey Farms in Aurora, Illinois. Visitors can purchase tickets to Pumpkin Daze in advance. The annual celebration of all things fall runs from late September until early November. A perfect time for pumpkins!
DuPage County, which includes Downers Grove, is also a great place to leaf peeping. Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, receives high marks for its brilliant displays of color. You can find a list of even more fall activities in DuPage County on the DuPage Visitors Bureau website.
And if you are able to make it over to Chicago, there is no shortage of fall festivities.
Celebrate Fall in Downers Grove, Illinois
As we have already mentioned, there’s nothing quite like fall in the Midwest. And we like to think that all of our residents at Oak Trace, a senior living community in Downers Grove, would agree. Whether taking part in on-site fall festivities within our community or venturing out to take part in nearby community activities, there’s no shortage of things for residents and visitors to do.
If one of the items on your fall to-do list is finding a senior living community in Downers Grove, let’s talk. Get in touch with us by filling out the form below or calling 630-769-6100.