Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Walpurgis: The Other Halloween

Beverly Crider's Strange Alabama blog touches on the Other Halloween - Walpurgis Night - and some books where the holiday is mentioned:

The other Halloween - exactly six months from All Hallow's Eve - is known as May Eve. April 30 is also known as Walpurgis Night. Beltane, which also corresponds to April 30/May 1, is one of eight solar Sabbats observed by pagans. The holiday incorporates traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, but it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival.

The ancient Germans believed Walpurgisnacht (eve of the feast day of St Walpurga, 8th-century abbess in Germany) to be the night of a witches' sabbath on the Brocken, in the Harz Mountains. The Bram Stoker short story "Dracula's Guest" takes place on Walpurgisnacht. So does the horror of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Dreams in the Witch House." It features prominently in Goethe's Faust, and the children's book, The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs.

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