Harvest Festival (German: "Erntedank"), in Austria, a religious thanksgiving ceremony at the end of harvest-time, celebrated on a Sunday between the end of September and mid-October, where a "harvest crown" ("Erntekrone") formed of ears of grain, flowers and fruit is taken to church in solemn procession. Mostly the celebration includes the blessing of gifts, a parish celebration and/or morning drinking festivals (Fruehschoppen).
The end of harvest often used to be celebrated by the farmers or landowners offering a festive meal to their farmhands and seasonal workers. The last wagon to be taken to the barn was decorated with flowers and ribbons, and a "harvest wreath" was presented to the workers by way of reward and as an invitation to merriment. It was not until the 1930s that the harvest festival was made part of the Catholic calendar of feasts under the influence of the popular liturgy movement, and the custom spread throughout Austria after the Second World War.
Literature#H. Fielhauer, Palmesel und Erntekrone, in: H. Fielhauer, Volkskunde als demokratische Kulturgeschichtsschreibung, 1987; H. M. Wolf, Das Brauchbuch, 1992. - E. G. Lies, Valedri, 1968; H. Steininger and L. Waltner, Huetereinzug in Perchtoldsdorf, 1988 (documentary films produced by the OeWF).