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Walpurgis

I feel a little like a failure. Last year I promised myself that I would celebrate Walpurgisnacht this year. (The night before St. Walpurgis Day, or Walpurga Day, alternately St. Walburga Day, itself a Christian holiday superimposed over the pagan spring fertility ritual May Day, aka Beltane, which predates the ancient Romans.) St. Walpurga was regarded as the go-to saint to protect one against witchcraft, and the night before May Day was, like Halloween, believed to be a day when the barriers between the spirit world and our physical world were thinner or weakened, allowing evil creatures to pass through, thus a night that evil beings like witches would celebrate. And the relics of St. Walpurga were in fact transferred from Heidenheim in the Frankish Empire to Eichstätt, also in the Frankish Empire (and equally hard to pronounce without unintentionally spitting on the person nearest you), on May 1st of 870 AD. The latter is ostensibly the reason for celebrating Walpurgisnacht, but the underlying reason was the fear of the unseen.

Walpurgisnacht is like a second Halloween. I had planned to go all out this year. Alas, one gets busy and time slips past. As I sit typing these words, it is not yet Walpurgisnacht, so I suppose there’s still time to throw something together, a low-key celebration. My gigantic bonfire and weenie roast is probably not going to happen. Not *this* year.

Walpurgisnacht, incidentally, is the night when Jonathan Harker arrives at Dracula’s Castle in a certain book written by a guy named Stoker.

TheCheezman • May 2, 2019


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