I have been remiss in my studies. I have been lazy. I frequently say that a writer needs to know EVERYTHING and, knowing this to be impossible, he or she ought nevertheless to make an effort towards learning everything. When he or she chances upon some subject with which he or she is unfamiliar (unless that subject relates to sports or to Nascar, knowledge of both of which is completely useless and thus the scholar need not waste any time in the effort) then he or she should educate him/herself on that subject. You never know when a bit of knowledge will come in handy. And yet I never bothered to look up Walpurgis Night, or Walpurgisnacht. I knew, courtesy of the novel DRACULA, that it was the night when Jonathan Harker first arrives at Castle Dracula. I knew it was the night when hidden treasures glow blue in the darkness, also courtesy of DRACULA. But what exactly IS Walpurgis Night? It’s Halloween—in the Spring!
Just like All Hallow’s Day was superimposed over the pagan festival of Samhain, the celebration of Saint Walpurgis, who founded a convent in Germany, was overlaid atop a Viking festival wherein bonfires were lit to frighten away evil spirits and usher in the springtime. It is the night before May Day, or Beltane, and like Halloween it is a night when the barriers between the spirit world and material world are at their weakest and thinnest. A perfect night for vampires to be out, in other words. And now we know.