Michaelmas goose 'spells prosperity for coming year'
The feast of St Michael and All Angels was traditionally celebrated as Michaelmas on September 29 in most of the UK (in Suffolk it is marked on 4 October and in Norfolk on October 11) by eating a well-fattened goose. It is the first day of the new farming year when tenants would often present their landlord with a goose on paying rent for the quarter.
At many top universities and public schools the expression is still used in referring to the 'Michaelmas term'. Eating a goose at Michaelmas was deemed to 'spell prosperity for the coming year'.
The festival is still celebrated in many European countries with Michaelmas goose nowadays regaining popularity across the UK. Michaelmas goose is often known as the 'green goose' as the birds would have been fed almost entirely on grass stubble and harvest gleanings - in contrast to the Christmas goose finished primarily on wheat. They are a leaner bird than the Christmas goose which develops more fat with the cold weather.