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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walpurgis Night

Tonight is Walpurgis Night. If you are Finish you would be outside drinking mead. The rest of us should go outside and drink beer to celebrate this ancient festival. The tradition of lighting a bonfire to ward off evil spirits and usher in the new light of May Day is very similar to the Catholic tradition of lighting the Holy Fire on the Easter Vigil. Once again, evidence that we are indeed Unified through our Diversity. Below is more information about Walpurgis Night from Wikepedia

The festival is named after Saint Walpurga, born in Wessex in 710. She was a niece of Saint Boniface and, according to legend, a daughter of the Saxon prince St. Richard. Together with her brothers she travelled to Franconia, Germany, where she became a nun and lived in the convent of Heidenheim, which was founded by her brother Willibald. Walpurga died on 25 February 779. She is therefore listed in the Roman Martyrology under 25 February. Her relics were transferred on 1 May, and that day carries her name in, for example, the Finnish and Swedish calendar.

Historically the Walpurgisnacht is derived from Pagan spring customs. In the Norse tradition, Walpurgisnacht is considered the "Enclosure of the Fallen". It commemorates the time when Odin died to retrieve the knowledge of the runes, and the night is said to be a time of weakness between the living and the dead. Bonfires were built to keep away the dead and chaotic spirits that were said to walk among the living then. This is followed by the return of light and the sun as celebrated during May Day. Due to Walpurga's holy day falling on the same day, her name became associated with the celebrations. Early Christianity had a policy of 'Christianising' pagan festivals so it is no accident that St. Walpurga's day was set to May 1st. Walpurga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration.

Happy Walpurgis Night...Knights!

Sir Hook the Walpurgis Knight of Warrick

1 comment:

  1. You learn something new every day.

    I believe that this is as good as reason as any to go out and light a fire in the patio pit and sip on some mead.

    If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! - Pete Seeger (yes, I had to look that up).

    Also, around 10 p.m. in Evansville you'll see Mars over in the W next to Gemini; Saturn almost straight over head (slightly W) around Leo.

    So, Happy Walpurgis Night.

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar