Pagan Festivals

Collection by Rickey Russell

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Rickey Russell

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Old Slavic Kupala

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Pagan Festival Shout Out: Suijin Matsuri

Suijin Matsuri: Shinto rite honoring the Kami of Water. The term Suijin (literally water kami or water deity) refers to the many heavenly and earthly manifestations of the benevolent Shintō divinity of water. But it also refers to a wide variety of mythological and magical creatures found in lakes, ponds, springs and wells, including serpents (snakes and dragons), eels, fish, turtles, and the flesh-eating kappa. The observances have the significant role of exorcism of bad spirits and…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Tanabata

Shinto rite honoring the Kami of the Stars. [a/k/a Star Kami Festival] On the seventh day of the seventh month, two mythical lovers—represented by the stars Altair and Vega—find a way to come together once a year, against all odds. Today’s Doodle celebrates Tanabata, also known in Japan as the “Star Festival.” Inspired by the Chinese Qixi Festival, Tanabata became popular in Japan during the Heian Period (794–1185). The story of Hikoboshi, a humble cowherd who falls in love with Orihime, the…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: feast of Orisha Babalu Aye

Babalu Aye is simultaneously one of the most feared and revered Orishas in Yoruban tradition. Presiding over the powers of life and death, his influence was so widespread that his worship grew from a single tribe in West Benin to many tribes all along the western coast of Africa. He is the patron deity of those who are suffering from sickness or infirmity. His domain is twofold -- he can cure the sick, and send illnesses as punishment for the wicked. Babalu Aye's shrine is a terracotta pot…

A Southern Life in Scandalous Times: Pagan Festival Shout Out: Mysteries Of Isis

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Mysteries Of Isis

December 22 is the day of the Mysteries of Isis. A priestess representing Isis, wearing her cow horns and solar disk, circles the shrine or coffin of Osiris seven times to signify mourning. She shakes her sistrum to drive away Set and bring about the rebirth of Osiris. The Lament for Osiris is also sung by priestesses representing Isis and their her sister Nephthys. Additionally, the Rhodophoria, a festival of roses, was held in honor of Isis in some of the places where her worship spread…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Armilustrium

In ancient Roman religion, the Armilustrium was a festival in honor of Mars, the god of war, celebrated on October 19. On this day the weapons of the soldiers were ritually purified and stored for winter. The army would be assembled and reviewed in the Circus Maximus, garlanded with flowers. During the festival the Romans held a special sacrifice ritual around the October Horse. It is the only time in ancient Rome that horses were sacrificial. I don't do animal sacrifice, but then again I…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Vestalia

Roman festival honoring Goddess Vesta (Greek Hestia). Women made food offerings at the sacred hearths of home and temple. Domestic and family life in general were represented by the festival of the goddess of the house and of the spirits of the storechamber — Vesta and the Penates — on Vestalia. On the first day of festivities the penus Vestae (sanctum sanctorum of the temple of Vesta which was usually curtained off) was opened, for the only time during the year, at which women offered…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Vestalia

Roman festival honoring Goddess Vesta (Greek Hestia). Women made food offerings at the sacred hearths of home and temple. Domestic and family life in general were represented by the festival of the goddess of the house and of the spirits of the storechamber — Vesta and the Penates — on Vestalia. On the first day of festivities the penus Vestae (sanctum sanctorum of the temple of Vesta which was usually curtained off) was opened, for the only time during the year, at which women offered…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Vestalia

Roman festival honoring Goddess Vesta (Greek Hestia). Women made food offerings at the sacred hearths of home and temple. Domestic and family life in general were represented by the festival of the goddess of the house and of the spirits of the storechamber — Vesta and the Penates — on Vestalia. On the first day of festivities the penus Vestae (sanctum sanctorum of the temple of Vesta which was usually curtained off) was opened, for the only time during the year, at which women offered…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Old Egyptian Festival of Neteret Bastet,

December 15th Old Egyptian festival of Neteret Bastet, Cat Goddess who protects the home and fosters domestic harmony. Her image was transported on a bark on the Nile River from Karnak to Bubastis. [Kemetic calendar (leap year)] [Alexandrian calendar 1/25 (leap year)] Bastet is the Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women's secrets, cats, fertility, and childbirth. She protected the home from evil spirits and disease, especially diseases associated with women and children. As with…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Feast Of Pan

Feast of Old Greek God Pan, who represents the masculine in Nature and protects men throughout their lives. Men recognized the transitions in their lives and honored male fertility. Pan, a God of fertility, was a follower of Dionysus who revel in mischief. He was a lord belonging to the Satyr, a tribe of creatures inhabiting the forest and mountains. When Pan was born his mother could not bear the sight of the child. In her arms she held to her a deformed baby. She declared the boy appalling…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Imbolc /St. Brigid's Day

Imbolc or Imbolg, also called Brigid's Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is Feile Brighde, the 'quickening of the year'. The original word Imbolg means 'in the belly'. All is pregnant and expectant - and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a 'just-showing'…

A Southern Life in Scandalous Times: Pagan Festival Shout Out: Winter Solstice

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Winter Solstice

Marks the beginning of Winter and the shortest day and longest night of the year; celebration of the darkness with dancing near the hearth fire. [a/k/a Old European turning-of-the-season day, Neo-Pagan turning-of-the-season day, Wiccan turning-of-the-season day, Winter Sabbat] Holidays celebrated on the solstice: Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time" or "Yule season") is a festival historically observed by the Germanic peoples. Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild…

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Pagan Festival Shout Out: Festival Of Evergreens

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Pagan Festival Shout Out: Fast Of Hod (Hodr)

Old Anglo-Teutonic fast marking Hod (God of Darkness) unintentionally killing Balder (God of Light), and his true love Nanna (Goddess of Flowers) dying of a broken heart. The dead were honored. Two stories exist referring to Hodr's killing of Balder... Version One: Hodr and Baldur were two great war leaders who marshaled their armies against each other due to a dispute over the hand of the beautiful maiden Nanna. Baldur had been nourishing himself with a special, spiritual food that…

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Samhain

Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. In modern times, Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced “sow-win”) is usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year.”. Rituals surrounding Samhain include bonfires, dancing, feasting and building altars to honor deceased ancestors. Some pagans bake special loaves of Samhain bread and leave offerings to the spirits outside their homes…