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Experience the Fall Season with All Your Senses
“The Five Senses are the Ministers of the Soul.”
— Leonardo da Vinci
Whether it’s the sight of colorful leaves, the feel of cool air, the taste of warm drinks and festive foods, the sounds of singing and dancing or the smell of pumpkin spice – our senses are immeasurably affected by the fall season. It’s no wonder so many people, in so many cultures, love it so much!
As humans, the way we understand and perceive our world is through the senses. The stimuli from each sensing organ – eyes, ears, skin, nose and tongue – is relayed to different parts of the brain to be organized and interpreted. Eyes can see all the colors of the rainbow, shades of light and dark, and if things are close or far away. Ears give your brain information about sounds and where the sounds are coming from. Skin is a sensor for touch, whether something is hot, cold, tickles or itches. The nose tells our brain we are smelling something floral, citrus, spicy or pungent and the tongue can taste sweet, salt, sour and bitter flavors.
When it comes to our beloved fall – use all your senses to enjoy the special, unique moments and holiday celebrations the season brings.
A Sight For Sore Eyes
Cool breezes, beautiful leaves, abundant harvests, glowing embers and taking time to give thanks for all of it are hallmarks of the fall season. Glorious, vibrant, color-changing landscapes with striking shades of red, yellow, orange, brown and green are in full view. Scenic drives to catch the picturesque sights or trips to the orchard and pumpkin patch are the norm.
Fall is also the time to celebrate so many holidays and festivities. Halloween is quite a sight in late October with trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and costume wearing. Mexican and Aztec cultures celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in November with sugar skulls, flowers and candles spread around an altar as a beautiful display to honor the lives of those that have passed.
In India, Diwali is a festival of lights that marks the Hindu New Year and is celebrated in October or November (depending on the cycle of the moon) with lighted oil lamps, candles and lanterns spread around the home as a symbol of welcome and joy for the upcoming year.
Now Hear This
Wind in the trees, leaves crunching under our feet, the honking of geese flying south, the clink of glasses toasting, laughter erupting or the chatter of friends and family for Thanksgiving are just some of the memorable sounds of fall. Boisterous singing and dancing are sounds that come from Homowo, a festival celebrated in Ghana in September dedicated to the hopeful prospect of plentiful crops for the coming year.
Fireworks can be heard in the UK on Nov. 5 for Guy Fawkes Day, also called Bonfire Night, commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Anywhere – the popping embers in a fire and leaves rustling in the forest can set a beautiful soundtrack for a charming fall evening!
Stay In Touch
After a carefree summer, the touchy feels of fall come in many forms. The first cool breezes of the season feel amazing on your skin after the warm summer months. So is the sensation of a soft banket, well-worn plaid shirt, comfy scarf or cuddling up on a patio, deck or family room around a warm and cozy fire.
How about the feeling of your hands around a warm mug of hot chocolate or on the smooth handle of a stein of German beer to observe Oktoberfest. This fall holiday originated in Germany in 1810 as a royal wedding festival for a Bavarian prince and princess and now includes parades, music, games and of course, beer, as well as Bavarian pretzels and Spezi, a German, orange-flavored soda.
An Acquired Taste
Speaking of flavors, there are so many tastes to savor in the fall. Ever since Starbucks launched its ubiquitous “pumpkin spice latte” in 2004 it seems that every food or drink now has a pumpkin-spice variety. But it’s not the only flavor of the season. Thanksgiving holiday tastes include turkey, gravy, potatoes, squash, green beans, cranberries, nuts and apples.
Korean’s savor songpyoen – rice cakes with a sweet filling of sesame seeds, red beans, brown sugar, chestnuts or pine nuts – to celebrate the beginning of autumn in a harvest festival called Chuseok where many go back to their hometowns and reunite with family to give thanks to ancestors. They play games and eat delicious foods, like songpyoen as well as Asian pear, apples, jujubes and drink rice liquor.
Stop And Smell The Roses, Or...The Pumpkins!
Each season has its own unique smells and aromas, and so many come to mind in fall. Whether it’s wood burning fires, brown sugar, chai tea, sandalwood, pecan pie, apple cider, roasted marshmallows, and, of course, pumpkin spice – the scents of fall are plentiful and magical. Take time this season, and during the many fall holiday celebrations, to appreciate and breathe them all in.
With the busyness of our lives, we often neglect to use or notice the input from all our senses. Fall seasonal celebrations such as Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Chuseok, Diwali, Homowo, Thanksgiving and Oktoberfest give us a chance to celebrate the season with so many delightful sights, feels, tastes, sounds and smells. Take some time this season to use all your senses; and, if it’s even possible, maybe enjoy the lovely fall season even more!