International Happy Goose Day is celebrated on September 29 every year. Also known as Michaelmas Day, the holiday initially celebrated the Archangel Michael but later became associated with geese because the date coincided with rent day in medieval England. Geese were a common form of payment, and many a citizen paid off their landlord with a goose tucked under their arm. Today the holiday is an excuse to munch on some tender roast goose, a bird that’s not eaten as frequently nowadays. No matter how you choose to celebrate, enjoy International Happy Goose Day!
History of International Happy Goose Day
Egyptians were among the first civilizations to domesticate geese some 3,000 years ago. They captured thousands of the birds in nets, kept them in pens, and bred them for meat and eggs. Goose was a delicacy only the wealthy merchants and nobility could afford. In the 4th century in France, locals told the story of St. Martin of Tours and his geese. Martin did not want to be a bishop, and on the day of his appointment, he locked himself inside a barn. The honking was so loud that the geese drew the congregation to the barn, where they discovered Martin hiding. Martin became a bishop in 327 A.D. The goose was the traditional bird eaten by the Christian faithful on his feast day on November 11.
The first informal Goose Day in the U.S. was celebrated in Pennsylvania, in the Juniata River Valley. A Dutchman named Andrew Pontius employed Archibald Hunter, and their contract stated that Pontius would settle payments on September 29. Hunter appeared on Pontius’ doorstep with a goose on the day of payment. He explained to his employer that geese were good luck symbols for the coming year.
This is how the tradition of Goose Day caught on in America, starting in the Juniata River Valley. In 1973, International Goose Day was officially celebrated in Mifflin County, and in 1976, Juniata County followed suit. Since then, International Happy Goose Day has been observed annually on September 29.
International Happy Goose Day timeline
Ancient Egyptians domesticate geese.
In London, geese become a popular Christmas dish.
Ebenezer Scrooge presents a goose for Christmas dinner.
According to George Dodd’s “The Food of London,” 888,000 geese are sold every year, compared to 69,000 turkeys.
International Happy Goose Day FAQs
Do geese have teeth?
No, geese do not have teeth.
How long do geese live?
Canadian geese live between 10 to 24 years, while swan geese live for 20 years.
Do geese mate for life?
Geese mate for life, and it’s rare for them to split up.
International Happy Goose Day Activities
Roast a goose
Roast goose has a gamey but intense flavor comparable to dark meat like beef. Now is the perfect time to give it a try.
Fry a goose egg omelet
Goose eggs are larger and richer in flavor compared to chicken eggs. A goose egg omelet is sure to be a tasty treat.
Sharing is caring
Give your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers some succulent goose meat to sample. They’ll love it, and you get to introduce one more person to this delicious fowl.
5 Great Facts About Geese
Imprinting on moving objects
Goslings will imprint on the first suitable moving stimulus, whether it's a mother goose, a human being, or an object.
Geese are territorial
Geese are fiercely protective of their territory, making them good guard animals on a farm.
Geese are the largest waterfowl
Aside from swans, geese are the largest waterfowl.
They are loyal
Geese mate for life and are very protective of their partners and offspring.
In ancient Rome, geese were used to alert the citizens of the Gaulish invasions.
Why We Love International Happy Goose Day
Goose meat is juicier
Farmers often joke that geese are the pigs of the air, bred to be lard animals. This means their meat is juicy and tender. You won’t need any gravy.
They have a unique taste
Geese absorb the flavor of whatever they eat in their body fat. Breeds like Black Brant are prized for this reason. Fed on eelgrass or wild celery diet, they’re pretty popular on the West Coast.
It’s a welcome change
People don’t eat goose as much as they used to. It’s a nice change if you’re bored of eating chicken or turkey all the time.
International Happy Goose Day dates