The Shire Harvest Festival, or Fonasanais1 as it’s called in the hobbit tongue, occurs around Yendary 21st, though depending on weather and the harvest it may sometimes be shifted by a few days in either direction. It’s celebrated simultaneously all across the Shire.
The festival is essentially a great outdoor feast made from vegetables just harvested the same morning, usually accompanied by roast pork or chicken. Each village has different specialties, using different meats, vegetables, and herbs, though by and large the fare is fairly similar across the Shire – pies and stew are particularly common choices. (This includes both meat pies and fruit pies.)
Each village sets up tables around the central square and builds a bonfire in the middle. The bonfire is lit at sunset, and it is at this point that the festival really gets going (sometimes people start eating a little earlier though). The ale and mead flow freely, and there are often various events in front of the fire – a talent show, a show of fireworks or magical illusion, or other forms of entertainment.
Sometimes enterprising individuals visit multiple nearby villages during the festival, sampling the food from each. The record for the number of villages visited in one night is seven, though that person was a wizard capable of teleporting.
The feast usually starts to wind down close to midnight, at which point the musicians come out and the dancing starts, starting with a circle dance around the fire. Not everyone participates in the dancing – some may still be eating, or passed out from drinking – but most do. Outsiders are encouraged to join in too.
From Hobbitese “fon” (“fire”) + “asanais” (summer, gen.). ↩