Parents cherish memories of Harvest Festivals and want the same for their children

(Photo: Unsplash/Anita Austvika)

Many British adults remember taking part in Harvest festivals as children and a majority think there is still value in their own kids taking part today. 

The poll by ComRes on behalf of the Church of England surveyed 4,051 adults across Britain and found that three quarters (73%) remember celebrating a Harvest Festival as a child. 

Even among those of other faiths (57%) and none (68%), many remembered taking part in a Harvest Festival as a child, although Christians were the most likely to do so (80%). 

Most of those surveyed (65%) said they had enjoyed the experience, and those of different faiths (74%) were nearly as likely as Christians (76%) to recall it with fondness. 

Women (73%) were more likely than men (54%) to say that they had enjoyed celebrating Harvest as a child, but there was little difference between the age groups, with more than two-thirds (69%) of those aged 65 and over saying they liked it, similar to 18- to 34-year-olds (67%) and 35- to -54-year-olds (63%). 

When asked what they thought were "important benefits" of Harvest Festivals, nearly two thirds (62%) said showing generosity to people in need, and half (51%) giving thanks for the good things in their life. Many of those surveyed (48%) said the festivals were important for teaching children where food comes from. 

Asked whether they thought there was still value in children participating in Harvest Festivals today, over two thirds (67%) said there was.  

Christians were the most likely (77%) to believe it was still a valuable experience for their children, but even many of those belonging to other religions (63%) and those of no faith (57%) agreed that it was a good thing for their children to take part in. 

Women (73%) were more likely than men (60%) to say that there was still value in children participating in Harvest Festivals today.

A Harvest Festival in St Alban's(Photo: Church of England)

When it came to age, those aged 55 and over were far more likely (74%) to believe it was still a valuable experience for children today, compared to those aged 18 to 34 (60%) and 35 to 44 (66%).

Despite the positive attitudes towards Harvest Festivals, the survey found that many children today are not taking part in one. 

Among the parents with a child under the age of 18, 42% said they did not participate in a Harvest Festival. 

Less than a third (29%) said their children took part in a service or activity in a school or nursery, while only one in five of the parents (19%) said their children participated in a visit to a church organised by a school or nursery.

Religiously unaffiliated parents were the most likely (47%) to say that their children do not take part in any Harvest Festival, compared to a third (35%) of Christians. 

The Church of England's Chief Education Officer, The Revd Nigel Genders, said he wanted to see more schools celebrate harvest.

"Harvest Festival is just one of the ways that the Christian tradition enriches the lives of children of all backgrounds as part of daily collective worship," he said. 

"It's encouraging to know that parents agree, and there is a clear call for more schools of all kinds to use the coming weeks to celebrate harvest, and I hope many will do so.

"Harvest is a wonderful opportunity for all schools and nurseries to help children and young people to think about how food reaches their plates, and to say thank you for all they have received, as well as giving to those in need."