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We can also commemorate Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg, whose feast day is October 31. If any reader out there is named Wolfgang: Happy Nameday!
Saint Wolfgang, pray for us.
Even EWTN’s Halloween explanation says that it’s partially Druidic ritual to Samhain, Celtic god of death. The link you posted makes more sense to me. Why do some Christians, even some Catholics, seem to prefer holding to the “pagan origins” idea? I can see that the holiday has become very secularized and many neo-pagans are latching onto it, but shouldn’t we hold harder to the Christian origins, instead of labeling it a satanic day and celebrating the fracturing of the church instead?
Druidism is long gone, and nobody really knows much about how they operated or what they believed.
When I was in Iceland forty years ago there was a revival of what people thought was the old religion, which even went so far as to send sacramental pony meat back to Noway.
The head of the Icelandic Writers’ Union said to me: It’s a19th century romantic revival.
I thought I had read, back when I was keep up on archeology more, that there was very, very little known about beliefs and practices from the British Isles at that time. There was the mummy found in the bog, that seemed to be a ritualistic killing (and Stonehenge, of course), but not much more. I suspect that fantasy authors have contributed more to the druidic ideas floating around than archeology has.
I was really surprised to find that on EWTN’s site, though.
I don’t know what EWTN said, and we don’t watch TV. But I have recently read a book by an English archaeologist who studies the period. He says the present day Druids are making it all up. But he doesn’t mind, as long as they don’t interfere with his work.
What is the name of the book? I’d enjoy it, I think.
I borrowed it from the library and have since returned it. I don’t remember the name but will try to recover.
This is it, but it’s quite secular in outlook and somewhat technical:
Modern Druids *have* to make it all up since real Druids prided themselves on the secrecy of the unwritten and esoteric religion. One of the dumber aspects of neo-paganism is the way it whipsaws between “We’re the Old Religion, way older than Christianity!” and “Who care if we made it up yesterday! It my personal truth!” Silly.
It’s mystical, which is pleasurable, but not too demanding. They think.
The Romans, not given to sentimentality or pity, thought the Druids in Britain needed to be wiped out. Tacitus describes a full Roman assault on the Isle of Mona against the Druids who were holding out there, and it is a grisly and pitiless scene.
Samhain wasn’t the “Celtic god of death.” It was the name of a Celtic festival that marked the end of harvest season. EWTN should really change that bit of misinformation; it’s the stuff Chick tracts are made of (quite literally; Jack Chick makes that bogus “Celtic god of death” claim).
I don’t know. I’m feeling magnanimous this week, and so I might just throw the Jack Chick “occult experts” a bone. When I do our ritual tomorrow night, I might just raise a toast to good old Sam! 🙂
Samhain, imbolc, beltane, and lughnasa are the midpoints of the various seasons. But I’ve never been clear why Catholics in Italy, Spain, France, and the Middle East would care about Irish festivals.