Ostara: Spring Equinox

The spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere falls on Sunday March 20 this year, marking the time when the sun passes over the celestial equator. Wiccans and other neopagans observe the day as Ostara, a festival that celebrates the season’s change from dark winter to brightening spring.

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Ostara is personified by the goddess who represents the dawn, the coming of new light and rebirth through many of the rituals, decorations and gifts that we’re familiar with to this day. They include colorful Easter eggs, rabbits, and baskets filled with sweets. Due to the popularity of these symbols in ancient times they were coopted by Christianity from “pagans” into what we know as Easter celebrations. Many of us continue to celebrate the season with a little bit of pagan influenced decor and delights.

Along with Ostara, many Wiccans and neopagans observe Beltane, Litha (or summer solstice), Lughnasadh, the autumnal equinox, Samhain, Yule and Imbolc. For many neopagans, Ostara celebrates the Spring Maiden and the Horned God sometimes envisioned as the god Pan, symbolizes the festive enjoyment of nature through hunting and dancing.
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Many religions celebrate holidays during this time of year, including the Hindu Holi, Jewish Purim, Sikh Hola Mohalla and Christian Easter.
Here– you can read a post that I wrote last year about a place that celebrates Easter a bit like Halloween
Elle. x
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Very superstitious

Hello my lovely weirdos! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time (or whatever event you have celebrated..or not celebrated). During these days I’ve read tons of ancient superstions that I found very interesting, so I’ve decided to gather them in this post. Well, probably I should’ve warned you before Christmas, let’s just hope you didn’t pissed off any evil force.

  • We all tend to spend Christmas Eve with our family, furry friends included, and stay up until midnight, but a legend has it that our feline friends acquire the power of speech at this time so anyone hearing this temporary “cat speak” will soon die.

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  • If you plan on hosting a Christmas dinner at your home, make sure you invite an even number of guests because a table set for an odd number merely invites bad luck or even death in the new year.
  • Those who are born on Christmas Eve turn into ghosts on that day every year while they sleep. If you were born on Christmas Eve and don’t want to have this happen to you, the remedy is to count the holes in a sieve from 11 o’clock on Christmas Eve until morning.
  • If you carry in your pocket a scale from a fish eaten at Christmas, your purse will be full all year.
  • An English superstition says that if you don’t give a pair of shoes to a poor person at least once in your lifetime, you will enter the next world barefoot. This leads to an influx of shoes being donated to charity shops at Christmas time.

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  • It’s unlucky to light a Yule Candle before supper on Christmas. It’s also unlucky to buy your own Yule candle or to snuff it before Christmas Eve ends, it should be left to burn itself out. If the candle is disturbed or snuffed out, back luck will befall the household. A portion of the candle should be kept to light the following years candle for good luck. A candle or lamp must be burned all night on Christmas Eve or there will be a death in the home.
  • The last day to indulge your Christmas time superstition is Candlemas (Feb. 2). Christmas decorations must be entirely taken down before the twelfth night after Christmas or goblins and bad luck will come. But be careful what you burn: it’s unlucky to burn Christmas greenery (except for mistletoe). Every leaf left up after Candlemas will result in either a goblin seen or a death in the house during the year.

Now, as we’re getting closer to New Year’s eve, here’s a list of superstitions that surround this day:

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  • We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
  • Make sure to do — and be successful at — something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don’t go near your place of employment that day. Limit your activity to a token amount, though, because to engage in a serious work project on that day is very unlucky
  • At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. It must leave before the New Year comes in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist it in finding its way out.
  • Italian people welcome the New Year in an extremely interesting way, by tossing old things out of their windows! Old things are tossed out in an effort to make room for the new and lucky to enter their households and lives in the year to come.
  • Lucky foods which should be consumed on New Years Eve is lentil soup and pork. Chicken should not be eaten on the first day of the year or you will have financial difficulties for the rest of the year.
  • Whatever a person does on this day will influence his activity for the rest of the year. Therefore to wash clothes will bring a year of hard
    work. Washing may also cause a relative’s death. Certain tasks were not to be done between Christmas and New Year’s Day–among them were knitting, sewing and doing the family laundry.
  • Crying on the first day of the year must be avoided. One must always be happy and in good spirits on New Year’s day. If you cry on New Years’ for a sad reason you will have sadness all throughout the year.

I’m sure I’m missing a few, please let me know if you have some interesting New Year’s eve/New Year’s day traditions that I might have missed. I do hope that you’re going to have a wonderful new year, that you’re going to realize all of your projects and dreams… weird dreams as well! Thank you all for keeping me company during this 2015, not the most exciting year for me, but definitely quite interesting!

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Elle. xx

 

 

…so be good for Krampus’s sake!

Hey! I’m so sorry that I haven’t posted anything during this time but life is getting pretty hectic. I’m studying a lot and Christmas is getting closer so it’s all pure madness. I’ve never really liked this time of the year, I’ve always been the “Grinch” of the situation, who knows why?! But honestly, I can’t wait for this year to be over. Who’s with me?
Speaking of Christmas, with all its traditions around the globe, this year Krampus is having his/its big Hollywood time! I’ve seen Krampus themed things in every social network so out of curiosity I did some research about this all creepy topic.

Krampus leading children

The customs of the holiday season, which include St. Nicholas Day, New Years Day, and Epiphany, as well as Christmas, often incorporate earlier pagan traditions that have been appropriated and adapted for contemporary use. Customs that encourage little children to be good, so as to deserve their Christmas gifts from Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, often come with a dark side: the punishment you’ll receive from a monster or evil being of some sort if you are not good! The legend is part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin in early December.

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Krampus, whose name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legendary beast also shares characteristics with other scary, demonic creatures in Greek mythology, including satyrs and fauns. Krampus night is celebrated on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe. Public celebrations that night have many Krampuses walking the streets, looking for people to beat. Alcohol is also involved. Injuries in recent years have led to some reforms, such as requiring all Krampuses to wear numbers so they may identified in case of overly violent behavior. The tradition is spreading beyond Europe, many cities in America have their own Krampus Nights including the Krampusfest in Los Angeles!

So, have you been a good kid for this year?

Elle. x

Around the World.

As we’re getting closer to Halloween (less than two weeks!) I was wondering how other countries celebrate this spooky event, so I thought It would’ve been nice getting to know other traditions and share them on this blog so that everyone can have a little peek into another culture.

Let’s start from Europe: Italy (where I live) celebrates All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd and here you will find different Regional traditions. From the last day of October until the 2nd of Novembr it is believed that dead people come back to meet the ones who are still living and to receive support and also to give light and hope. We place candles into empty pumpkins. In Sicily, especially in Palermo, All Saints is dedicated to children and it’s a sort of Christmas’s replica, with kids getting gifts in the morning or treasure hunting for them and, once found them, go to the cemetery to thank the dead.

In Austria some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be full to the brim with strong cosmic energies, while in Germany during the Halloween night, people put away their knives, this is because they do not want to risk harm for the returning spirits.

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Sourtoe Cocktail

“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow,

but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”

What I find more intriguing than urban legends is weird traditions around the world.

The Sourtoe Cocktail is champagne seasoned with a mummified toe that has become an important tradition in Dawson City (Canada).

Estabilished in 1973, according to the story, Yukon local Captain Dick Stevenson found the toe preserved in a jar of alcohol while cleaning a cabin in 1973. After discussing it with friends, Captain Dick preserved and started serving the toe in a “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Eldorado hotel bar. This is how the “Sourtoe Club” was formed. The first toe is said to have belonged to a miner and rum runner  who had his frostbitten toe amputated in the 1920s and preserved it in a jar of alcohol in his cabin, where Stevenson found it some 50 years later.

The first toe lasted only seven more years after its discovery. According to the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, “In July 1980, a miner named Garry Younger was trying for the Sourtoe record. On his thirteenth glass of Sourtoe champagne, his chair tipped over backwards, and he swallowed the toe.”

After that, seven more toes have been donated to the bar. Number two was given after an amputation due to an inoperable corn, number three was from a victim of frostbite (it was also swallowed accidentally), four was an anonymous toe, toes five and six were donated by a Yukon old-timer,  toe seven was an amputation due to diabetes and toe eight arrived in a jar of alcohol with the message, “Don’t wear open-toe sandals while mowing the lawn.”

Today you can still drink the Sourtoe Cocktail (which is still garnished with a real toe) and join the club, complete with a proper certificate. Of course the rule is slightly changed, instead of champagne you can have your favourite cocktail but the most important rule remains the same: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”

In August 2013 a customer came in, ordered the Sourtoe Cocktail, swallowed the toe (probably because of a bet)  and slammed down $500, the fine for swallowing the toe. Luckily the bar had a backup toe in waiting. The fine has since been raised to $2500.

Fancy a Sourtoe Cocktail now?

Happy Easter (the weird way)!

Buongiorno peeps and happy Easter!
You might probably imagine that my favourite time of the year is: Halloween! Believe it or not there’s a country that celebrates Easter a bit like Halloween. I mean what kind of a weird blog would it be if I don’t write about it?!

The lucky country is Finland where the children dress up as witches with broomsticks hanged around their necks and they wander in the streets in search of treats. It is believed that during the festival, witches become more powerful and bonfires are made to scare them off.

Easter witch is a popular character in the Nordic Easter tradition. In Finland and Sweden alike, it was believed that witches, who were mainly old, malicious women, were flying around on brooms, hurting cattle and doing other mischief. Today, they are most often represented as scarf-clad women riding a broom, accompanied by a black cat and a copper coffee pot. Little witches whisking willow twigs can be seen toddling around throughout the country on Palm Sunday.

Photo: Niklas Meltio
Photo: Niklas Meltio

As for me what I really love about Easter is that I can scoff chocolate (dark one for me, please) for a couple of days, I mean, it’s tradition! Hope you’re all having a joyful and a bit weird Easter!

Elle. x