17 Sep 2008 12:47 pm
mediaevalist: (WTS)
Well, now.  I just found out I'm Jewish!  *cue headdesking*

Once more, because apparently word is still circulating that Samhain itself is a festival (Sheesh, folks...could you actually read the Wiki article on it?  Please?):

(an t-)Samhain(n) is the Irish Gaelic/Scottish Gaelic word for what is approximately the month of November.

The words you're looking for are Feis na Samhna, i.e., 'Feast of November' (Note the declension, kids!)  If you're going to say it the old-fashioned way, at the very least you could make the attempt to get it right.  Otherwise, just call it 'Hallowe'en', mmkay?

But this isn't what has me facepalming the most.  No, what has me in laugh-or-else-I'll-cry mode is that it's been turned into a Jewish observance.  You see, 'sabbat' is a corruption of the Hebrew word Sabbath, derived from the verb shabbat, or 'to cease'.  It's not a celebration: it's the weekly period of rest observed in both Judaism and Christianity.

There's an interesting theory here about how the term 'sabbat' came to be connected to witches, but it really has no historical bearing other than common folklore.  If you're discussing the modern Wiccan/neopagan observance, it's one thing. But use of the term to describe the historical occurrence of Hallowe'en/Feis na Samhna is, well, facepalm-worthy.
mediaevalist: (Default)
As many people in the States probably already know, it's Saint Patrick's Day. It's also the second day of Holy Week (yesterday having been Palm Sunday). This happens once in a while, when a saint's feast day falls some time within Holy Week, and because of this the saint's feast day is not officially observed by the Church.

You didn't really expect this to be short, did you? )
mediaevalist: (Default)
The autumn months are typically lean times of blogging for me, mostly due to running the gauntlet of seasonal colds and allergies. This year's start could have been a lot worse, so I'm grateful. I was only suffering for three days as opposed to the usual week.

And I see that while I was out, I see that someone actually friended me for some reason. *scratches head* I really should have checked this journal sooner.

I have nothing right now on autumn festivals of the mediaeval period, though around the Eve of All Saints I'll be writing up another of my torturous posts on the subject. Or All Hallows' Eve or Hallowe'en if you prefer, but calling it 'Samhain' is goofy; it's Feis na Samhain, literally, 'Feast of November' (Samhain is the name of the month, at least in modern Irish).

But to dispense my early-season tip: if you want to celebrate the season in the traditional way besides attending Mass, (because let's face the facts, kids: the mediaeval everyman was what we call today a churchgoing Catholic, if for no other reason that he finally got to take a break and sit down) just find the local brewery (closest thing to a traditional pub in the States) and have so much to drink that you can barely walk home (Do not drive, especially not yourself). Thousands of Glasweigans continue this time-honoured tradition every year, where the streets are filled with staggering 'celebrants'.

Ah, the joys of modern Celtic culture.

June 2015



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