Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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February and March 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Many heathen sects celebrate some version of Groundhog Day and Easter.

The 12 days of Entschtanning in the Urglaawe tradition (Pennsylvania Deitsch) run from the 1st to the 12th of February. On the 1st of February, German Reconstructionists in the USA celebrate Idisi Segen.

February 2nd is Groundhog Day, Charming of the Plough, Idis-thing, Disting, and Barri to different groups among American Asatru. It's also Candlemas (English), Lichtmess (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), and Lichtmesdag (Luxembourg.)

Some American Asatruars have invented a holiday to be celebrated while mainstream American culture is celebrating Valentine's Day on Feb. 14th. This holiday is variously called Vali's Day, Freya's Day, or just the Fourteenth of February (similar to the custom in Denmark where it is called Fjortende Februar rather than St. Valentine's.)

The date of Easter is a movable feast, that is, the date changes every year. In Theodish Belief, Easter falls on the first new moon after the Spring Equinox. The Equinox will be March 20 this year. The first new moon after that will be April 5th.

In American Asatru, Ostara can fall on the Spring Equinox, the first full moon after the Equinox or on the same date as Christian Easter by the Gregorian Calendar (the regular calendar in general use in the USA) and is often celebrated on the weekend closest to the end of March. This year, the Equinox will also be a full moon. So, the first full moon after that will be an entire month later, on April 21, which is when western rite (Gregorian calendar) Christians will be celebrating their Easter. Some American Asatru groups will celebrate Ostara on March 20, some on April 21, some on March 31 to make it convenient to have a multiday Ostara campout that also includes Loki Day on April 1, and some American Asatruars do not celebrate Ostara at all. Icelandic Asatru does not celebrate Ostara; it is a continental European holiday deriving from Germanic rather than Scandinavian traditions. As most American Asatruars are of Germanic ancestry, and Easter is an important holiday in American secular culture, most American Asatruars do celebrate it.

In Saxon Germany, Grundonnerstag is celebrated on the Thursday before Easter. The Saturday before Easter is Karsamstag in south Germany and Karsonnabend in north Germany. Ootmarsum, Netherlands celebrates Vloggelen on Easter Sunday and Monday. Mekkelhorst, Netherlands holds Veldgang on the Monday preceding Ascension Thursday. The Netherlands celebrates Dauwtrappen on Ascension Thursday. Schiermonnikoog, North Coast Islands, Netherlands, celebrates Kallemooi on the Saturday before Whitsun, while on the same day, the rest of the Netherlands celebrates Luilak (Lazy Bones Day.) Swedish Forn Sed celebrates Disting on the Sunday between the 8th and 14th of February.

Image: colored eggs in a basket in front of classical public domain art of the goddess Ostara, photo by Erin Lale



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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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