April 30th, 2004

Wedding day

"May Eve was Walpurgis Night, when hell's blackest evil roamed the earth..."

I missed Pi(e) Day (March 14th) this year because I was so sick, so I've decided to make up for it by writing a post on Walpurgisnacht (especially since many of y'all are probably unfamiliar with it). For those more interested in my actual genuine life, I've included a brief rundown of current events Collapse ) Anyway, on to the Walpurgis:

May Eve (also referred to as Walpurgisnacht, Walpurgis Night, or simply, The Walpurgis) is celebrated on the night of April 30th/May 1st, exactly six months after Halloween. It is named after Saint Walpurga (known also as Wealdburg, Valderburger, Valborg and Walburga), an abbess who was born in who lived between 710 and 779 A.D. She was granted sainthood on May 1st, 779, a few months after her death. As Christianity spread through Europe, Christian holidays were created to supplant pagan feasts, and Walpurga, the protectress against witchcraft and sorcery, became associated with the annual Viking fertility rites that coincide with the seasonal change.

In certain pagan belief systems, May Eve is the last night before spring triumphs over winter. It is the night when witches, demons and their familiars enjoy one last mad celebration until Halloween. Further mystical and occult connotations surround Walpurgisnacht as a result of Goethe's Faust. In Faust, Mephistopheles (the devil) takes Faust on May Eve to The Brocken, the highest peak of the Harz mountains, known for centuries as a witches' meeting place. There, Faust participates in the revelry of the Witches Sabbath. The mild spirits of the earth, along with fairies and elves (the ancient dead) awaken and dance though the night, beginning their reign over the more temperate half of the year.

Walpurgisnacht is celebrated primarily in Germany, Eastern Europe and Scandanavia. In parts of Scandanavia (especially Finland and Sweden), Walpurgisnacht is celebrated as a prominent Christian holiday, like Midsummer or Christmas. Originally, the festival was a time to drive out evil spirits with loud noise. In the present day, Walpurgis celebrations are very similar to Halloween in the United States. Bonfires are lit, children dress as witches and evil spirits, and many college campuses hold traditional observances. On the morning of May first, the entire population of Scandanavia utters a collective "dammit" as they discover that Vasaline has been smeared on their doorknobs, bananas have been stuffed into their tailpipes, toilet paper adorns their trees, and President Bush is still in the Whitehouse.

I'm sorry, I forgot that I'm trying to be serious here.

Anyway, since I'm a big dork, I've collected a small but solid playlist of semi-related classical music which I'm sure all of you but evil_jim will ignore:Finally, just to indulge my own personal preference (which is the only reason I post in my livejournal in the first place), Collapse )

The summary of Walpurgisnacht history and traditions was compiled from Scandanavian Culture & Holidays, German Customs, Traditions Origins of Holidays, and the World History Wikipedia entry on Walpurgis.
  • Current Music
    Gustav Holst -- The Planets