The Scandinavians never pass up a chance for a good bonfire. Midsummer Night, or St. John’s Eve as it’s sometimes called in Denmark and Norway, is the perfect occasion. The holiday has little to do with St. John the Baptist, other than falling just before his saint day. In the 10th century Baltic and Scandinavian countries replaced the traditional names of Midsummer with allusions to the feast of St. John the Baptist, which …Read more
Lindisfarne is a small island in the northeast of England—also known as Holy Island—that houses a small castle and monastery. The “island” is actually connected to the mainland by a small strip of land that is revealed by the changing tide twice a day…
But in the Asatru tradition, Lindisfarne Day is a holiday celebrating what is generally conceived to be the beginning of the Viking Era, on June 8th, 793 AD.
On that …Read more
June 7, 2012 June 23, 2011 June 3, 2010
Corpus Christi ain’t just a city in Texas.
Short for Corpus et Sanguis Christi, aka the Body and the Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi is one of the holiest Thursdays of the year.
“The feast of Corpus Christi is one time when our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is exposed not just to faithful Catholics but to all the world.“
Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru
Begins at sunset on April 18, 2011
Tonight Jews around the world celebrate Passover. The origin and the name of Passover goes back to the Egyptian days, when the Jews were slaves in Egypt.
According to the second book of the Torah, Exodus, God unleashed ten plagues upon Pharaoh and his people in an attempt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Hebrews. Or as the late great Charlton Heston said, to “let my people go.”
The last …Read more
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
The Annunciation, da Vinci, c. 1475
Happy New Year!
Up until 1752, March 25th was the first day of the New Year in much of the English-speaking world. It was also known as Lady …Read more
…when the night and day are equally divided, Buddha appears on earth for a week to save stray souls and lead them to Nirvana.”
Thus, in Japan the Sundays prior to the spring equinox (shuubun no hi) and the fall equinox (shunbun no hi) are known as O-higan. Days on which families visit and honor the graves of the departed. Ancestors are said to watch over the family like tutelary, …Read more
In New Orleans, Carnival season doesn’t end with Mardi Gras, it just gets going. On the heels of the Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day comes St. Joseph’s Day, one of the biggest celebrations of the year.
Saint Joseph is the Patron Saint of Italy; he’s particularly revered in Sicily, where prayers to the saint are believed to have ended a deadly drought in the Middle Ages. His Feast Day is celebrated by …Read more
March 15, 44 BC
How Diarrhea Changed the World
On this day in 44 BC Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate by a cadre of Senators who called themselves “the Liberators.”
During Caesar’s reign the Roman Empire achieved an unprecedented amount of power and land area, stretching from Britain to Africa to the Middle East. Caesar conquered Gaul and led the first Roman invasion of Britain.
The Roman Civil War of 50 BC divided …Read more