Feasting and festivals at harvest time are common world wide traditions that the English brought from their farming backgrounds and continued in the New World
August (17th century English country song)
Now strike up drum, come harvest-man, come.
Reap corn by the day, lest corn do decay.
In champion country a pleasure they take
To mow up there haulm, for to brew and to bake,
The haulm is the straw of the wheat and the rye.
Get home with the brake, to brew with and bake;
To cover the shed, dry over the bed;
To lie under cow, to rot under mow;
To serve to burn, for many a turn.
Once harvest dispatched, get wenches and boys;
Choice seed to be picked, and trimly well fy’d.
When harvest is ended, take shipping or ride;
Ling, salt-fish, and herring, for Lent to provide.
To buy it at first, as cometh to road,
Shall pay for they charges, thou spendest abroad.
At Bartlenew tide, or at Strurbridge fair;
Sell to thy profit, both butter and cheese.
Chuse carefully salt-fish, not burnt at the stove
Buy such as be good, or else let it alone:
Get home that is bought, and go stack it up dry,
With pease-straw between it, the safer to lie.
In harvest time, harvest folke, servants and all.
Should make all togither good cheere in the hall;
And fill out the black boule of bleith to their song
And let them be merie all harvest time long.
Once ended they harvest, let none be begilde,
Please such as did helpe thee, man, woman and childe.
Thus dooing, with alway such helpe as they can,
Thou winnest the praise of the labouring man.