Dear Faithful Readers!
Tonight, April 30 is St. Walburga’s Night, still a festival in much of Europe. The bonfires of the night come from a far older commemoration, that of Bealteinne on May 1st, exactly 6 months across the circle of the year from Samhuinn, Oct 31-Nov 2.
Bealteinne is the ancient European, and especially Celtic, fire feast of unbridled and invincible Life. In my humble opinion, it is why the Orthodox date of Pascha (Easter) is the correct one as it more closely aligns with Bealteinne. This year it is May 5. What is Pascha about if not the absolute victory of Life…as the Latin Sequence Victimae Paschali puts it,
Mors et Vita duello,
Death and Life contended in a battle marvelous to behold…
St. Walburga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Walpurga was an 8th Century Missionary, and Abbess of Heidenheim.
Her translation of her relics day (canonization) was May 1, and so the eve of Bealteinne now had another reason for rejoicing. The legend among the witch-persecutors that that night was a Sabbat inspired much very creepy music and art. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night_in_popular_culture
In modern times, most of the world–except the US–celebrates May 1st as International Workers’ Day, and even the Roman Catholics have newly dedicated the day to St. Joseph the Worker.
The Eastern Orthodox keep the traditional feast of St Jeremiah the Prophet, as well as many other commemorations, including St. Walburga http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1_(Eastern_Orthodox_liturgics).
Another great way to celebrate invincible Life, with the fruits of Life: work and fun!
I’m on the train right now, so I hope this post formats OK!
… Sorry for the brevity and typos: Sent from remote on the phone.