America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination.
— Harry S. Truman —
I wish you and your families a blessed 4th of July
— Harry S. Truman —
The title of this blog post might have fooled you a bit. This blog post isn’t a short story about a fantasy night. It isn’t the title of a Halloween night. It is the title of a night when the celebration of witches is going on with bonfires when rampant superstition and misunderstood beliefs lead to another Holiday celebration nobody exactly knows where its roots are:
Let’s find out if we can bring some light into a secret that’s hidden in the dark for centuries.
I found two quotes about Walpurgis Night, one as false as the other:
Bram Stoker, the 19th Century Irish storyteller, barely got anything right. Walpurgis night has nothing to do with death, walking corpses and a devil’s dance. But Selena Fox isn’t right either. According to my research, Walpurgis Night and Beltane have two different roots and are just celebrated almost the same time. But let’s find out what I learned:
Walpurgis Night (the English translation of Walpurgisnacht [valˈpʊʁɡɪsˌnaχt]), also known as the Feast of Saint Walpurga, is the eve of Christian feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Francia, and is celebrated on night of 30 April and the day of 1 May. This feast commemorates the canonization of Sant Walpurga and the movement of her relics to Eichstätt, both of which occurred on 1 May in the year 870. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night)
Beltane (/ˈbɛl.teɪn/) is the anglicized name for the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Irish the name for the festival day is Lá Bealtaine ([l̪ˠaː ˈbʲal̪ˠt̪ˠənʲə]), in Scottish Gaelic Là Bealltainn ([l̪ˠa: ˈpjaul̪ˠt̪ˠɪɲ]) and in Manx Gaelic Laa Boaltinn/Boaldyn. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltane)
Walpurgis Night & Beltane:
Despite sharing the same date and many customs, there is a distinct difference between Walpurgis and Beltane. At its most basic, Beltane is primarily Gaelic and celebrated on May 1, whereas Walpurgis is Germanic and often celebrated the night before Beltane. If you were able to go back in time however, you’d realize you’re dealing with rural customs, in areas quite often cut off from much contact with the outside world. From that perspective you’d likely see little difference between the two holidays.
The primary difference between the ancient times and more modern history, is Walpurgis has developed a distinctly witchy flavor. Walpurgis in the Middle Ages concerned itself with protecting yourself from or driving away witches.
Today, as the fear of the craft fades slowly into the past, it’s all about celebrating witches. (source: Todd Atteberry of the Gothic Curiosity Cabinet)
According to these sources Walpurgis Night and Beltane are different, Walpurgis celebrating a Germanic Christian Abbess of the 8th Century, while Beltane is much older, of course, and is based on a Pagan Celebration. It started as a celebration of welcoming spring, exactly six months after Samhain (later the Christian All Saints Day.) and turned into chasing away evil.
I found out that Walpurgis Night is celebrated through not only the Germanic part of Europe but Northern Europe as well. (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, even the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bohemia). It seems, one point in Europe is very much connected to the roots of Walpurgis Night: “Blocksberg,” in the “Harz,” in Germany. It is suspected that Pagans originally tried to find a place where they could celebrate Beltane without being disturbed by fanatic Christians. But of course, a secret never stays a secret if many people guard it. It is told that Christian bigots found the Blocksberg, watched the Beltane rituals and labeled them as celebrating evil, satanic masses, and witches would call Satan to practice dark magic and hold orgies.
All these rumors, of course, let me and many others believe that Walpurgis Night and Beltane are not different at all, but that Walpurgis Night has its roots in the Beltane rituals. It is said that some of these Christians liked and enjoyed the peaceful celebration of Beltane and just found a way to celebrate the feast in a Christian Way, while not much later, the very same Christians burned peaceful Pagan women to death for celebrating rituals that were marked as ‘witchcraft.’
Nowadays of course, in these modern times, the roots and meaning of as well Walpurgis Night as also Beltane have been completely lost. It seems our world hears “bonfire,” “celebration,” “witches.”, “evil” and it turns out into the grotesque glorification of witchcraft without questioning the origin. In many European countries that still remember Walpurgis Night, people light up bonfires, dance, drink and wear silly witch costumes.
I think it is a bit sad that the meaning and the roots of Beltane is mostly forgotten.
Whatever we celebrate now, does have nothing to do anymore with what Beltane meant. Neo-pagans have turned it into some witch celebration.
Nobody knows who Walpurga was and she is just considered another witch.
Once again, this year, April 30, I will remember that centuries ago the beginning of a new season was celebrated and I will smile about the silly turn this celebration has taken.
March 5, 2018 I found a new achievement on WordPress:
I’m very excited to be a blogger of 3 years this month.
Writer’s Treasure Chest has grown significantly in the past year.
over 5,500 comments
almost 80 guests
I’m so lucky to be part of the blogging world with all your help. Without guests, friends, followers, supporters and people encouraging me again and again this blogging adventure would not have been progressing at this pace and wouldn’t have been as successful as it is.
To all of you:
Sometimes my joints are aching, walking up the stair,
some other time after only a few steps I feel I need a chair.
my yell is not as loud as it once has been
when I read I do admit, without glasses I had never seen
the little letters in the book, the story should be told
Once I do buy audiobooks, I’ll know I’m getting old.
Today however, I celebrate, that another year has passed
where I survived and did my best, working on my future and forget about my past.
Every year is a new start and things should be taking off
(even though I started this year now, with a cold and quite a cough.)
However, the number on my bones climb higher some days I feel like fried
or like I had been cooked alive – and afterward been mummified.
Hold up your glass and celebrate that despite all the lows and highs
finally, in long, wide strides, AJ’s slowly getting wise!
(Copyright, Aurora Jean Alexander, January 2017)
I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, “Your old courthouse is kinda run down.”
He said, “Naw, it’ll do for our little town.”
I said, “Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that’s a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.
He said, “Have a seat”, and I sat down.
“Is this the first time you’ve been to our little town?”
I said, “I think it is.” He said, “I don’t like to brag,
But we’re kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.”
“You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing -Oh Say Can You See-.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin’ at its seams.”
“And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.”
“On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.”
“She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they’ve about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she’s been abused —
She’s been burned, dishonored, denied and refused.”
“And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she’s getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she’s in good shape for the shape she’s in.
‘Cause she’s been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.”
“So we raise her up every morning,
Take her down every night.
We don’t let her touch the ground
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I DO like to brag,
‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag.”
Within these two years the post has made huge steps forward. I’m proud to present a few numbers here:
– 723 posts
– almost 3,900 comments
– 722 followers!
– over 30’000 views
All these posts, all these comments, the interviews, the Spotlights, blog tours, pictures, smiles and all the fun! None of this would have been possible without you, followers, readers, visitors and friends.
I want to take the chance at this point to say THANK YOU! Thanks so much for your visits, for the time you sacrifice to read, to comment, to share, re-blog and smile with me and all of us! It’s you who made this journey such a pleasure for me!!
What a wonderful surprise today!
I’m quite proud of being a blogger for two years now.
In the meantime “Writer’s Treasure Chest” got:
over 680 posts
over 3’800 comments
I couldn’t have done it without so many people! My friends, readers, followers, commenters, re-bloggers, supporters, guest authors and many more.
I could not have accomplished such an awesome success without you all. You made this adventure a wonderful experience for me. You are all GREAT! Thanks for your ongoing support!