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
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
Answer: only during Leap Year…
The great-grand-daddy of our February 29th Leap Day goes back to the ancient Romans. I know what you’re thinking: Don’t we have anything that doesn’t go back to them? Uh, yes: numbers, and thank god for that, or taxes would be an even bigger drag. Also the dates of the month aren’t Roman—for which you’ll be …Read more
Between Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays in February comes another birthday, one that has been celebrated far longer than either President, but for a man whose life is all but unknown.
The awakening of spring has always been associated with the blossoming of love. In the Roman calendar February was the last month of the year, a time of purification before the new agrarian planting season.
Lupercalia commemorated the She-wolf that suckled …Read more
She-wolf suckles Romulus & Remus
It’s Lupercalia time, baby.
On this day the ancient Romans remembered the She-wolf who suckled the baby Romulus—the future founder of Rome–and his brother Remus.
The priests of Rome, known as the Luperci, or ”Brotherhood of the Wolf,’ would commemorate this day by running around in loincloths smacking women on the back with an animal-skins.
What is immediately apparent in a comparison between the sacred rites of then and now is …Read more
February 9th is Showtime for Apollo, the sun god of the ancient Greeks, whose chariot rode across the heavens each day.
February 9 wasn’t the only feast for Apollo. The Spartans celebrated Apollo in August (Carneia). The Athenians celebrated his birthday in May (Thargelia) and held a harvest festival in his honor in October (Pyanepsia).
But according to Roman records, at some point the Festival of Apollo was celebrated on the Vth (5th) day before …Read more
February 1 or 2
Brigid was a Celtic goddess whose festival was celebrated on February 1st and 2nd. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, …Read more