The Birthday of Zarathushtra, one of the most important Zoroastrian festivals. Regarded as one of the most significant festivals of the Parsis, it is also referred to as Navroz-I-Khas. Although the actual date of his birth cannot be accurately identified, the festival of Khordad Sal symbolically celebrates the birthday of Prophet Zarathushtraz on the 6th day of the first Parsi month, Farvardin.
This date, however, falls on different days depending upon which of the three religious calendars are followed, and on those dates will vary from year to year, here are the dates for 2021:
- Fasli (Iranian): March 26
- Qadimi (Kadmi): July 22
- Shenshai: August 21
Who is Zoroaster?
Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was the founder of Zoroastrianism. Some accounts place his birth in western Iran, perhaps near Tehran, however based on the dialect of his poetry, it seems likely that he was born in the east. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism.
There is no consensus among scholars about when he was born. The estimated dates of his birth range from 6000 BC to 100 BC. The majority of his life is known only through the Avestan texts. It is possible that Zoroaster was a purely mythological person or that the writings attributed to him are actually the work of multiple authors who wrote under the same name. All of the details have been lost in antiquity.
Legend says that when his mother was five months pregnant, she had a nightmare about the ending of the world. But then an angel appeared to her, and told her that her unborn child would become a great prophet who would be able to reverse the impending destruction.
It is said that his face was shining at the moment of his birth, and that it is on account of this that he was named Zarathustra, which according to one translation means ‘golden (zara) light (ushas)’; according to another it means ‘yellow (zara) camel (ushtra)’, a translation perhaps more in keeping with the pastoral society into which he was born.
Celebrating The Day
Khordad Sal is the equivalent of Christmas for Christians, and it is a day of great festivities and celebrations.
Khordad means perfection, and it is customary on this day to visit the Fire Temple to give thanks to Ahura Mazda, the Persian name for the one God, for giving humanity the ideal gift of the Prophet Zarathushtra. His followers participate in a jashan or thanksgiving ceremony; listen to stories of his miraculous birth and life; and then celebrate with a lavish community meal, a drink and a dance.
On this day people get busy with cleaning their homes and decorating them with rangoli, colored sand spread on the floor in different patterns. Fragrant flowers are used for further beautifying the homes. People get up early on the day of the festival and don their newest and finest clothes. They prepare traditional foods as part of the luxurious dinner that forms a major part of the celebrations.
The tables are decorated in a special fashion as part of the festivities. Foods and flowers are the main highlights at the table. They are accompanied by dishes of nuts and candies. The different delicacies prepared include kebab, chelo, fish and seasonal fruits, such as melons, nectarines and apples.
The Parsis also visit fire temples or places of worship to offer thanks to Ahura Mazda and remember the birth of their prophet. A special ritual followed is Jashan, or thanksgiving prayers to give thanks for and celebrate the soul that evinced a philosophy of life that is both giving and fulfilling, which is performed in the agiaries. A grand feast follows this ritual in the temples.
Because this is a time to unite and mingle with near and dear ones, Khordad Sal gives the Parsis an opportunity for togetherness and to make resolutions for the upcoming year ahead. People exchange gifts and salute each other with the greeting: Khordad Sal Mubarak!. Prayers are offered and are followed by festive parties
Typically a day for family gatherings, however, if families are unable to be together then prayers are offered for those who are not in attendance. It is an important celebration for the Parsi community, and because family (and community) is central to the themes of Zoroastrianism, guests are invited to participate in the festivities.
Parsis also take the time during Khordad Sal to be introspective. They look at ways in which they can improve the lives of others and themselves.
About The Zoroastrian Faith
Zoroastrianism, also commonly known as Mazdaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the history of humanity. Very little is known about it. The religion is pillared on the belief in the existence of heaven and hell, the Golden Rule (do unto others what you want to be done unto you), messianism and free will.
Zoroastrianism was for ages the world’s most powerful religion, termed by some as ‘The Supreme Religion.’ The 7th century saw a rise in the suppression of the religion. The suppression was a result of the victory by the Muslims in conquering the state of Persia. The Zoroastrian faith has endured many hardships, the most significant being the invasion into Iran by Alexander and later, the Arab conquest of Iran.
The three tenets of the religion include good thoughts, good deeds, and good words. Zoroastrianism believes there is only one supreme, universal and transcendent God, the Ahura Mazda, “Wise Lord.” They believe that Ahura Mazda discovered the world and then passed on all the teachings through the Prophet Zoroaster.
Though greatly diminished in numbers, Zarathustra’s followers have continued to honor his revolutionary teachings for over 3000 years. Most modern Zoroastrians live in India, although smaller communities exist around the world.
As Zoroastrian numbers continue to dwindle, courts battle ancient rules in the 21st century. Tradition forbids women who marry non-Parsi Zoroastrians from ever again entering fire temples, and as more and more followers enter interfaith marriages, leaders question the religion’s ability to continue in the world.
The precession of the equinoxes has moved the astronomical beginning of spring back four days to March 21, but its previous date of March 25 became identified with the Virgin Mary, who was told by the angel Gabriel on that day that she would become the mother of Christ.
Lady Day, as this day was commonly called, was one of the great quarterly dividing points of the year (the others being Midsummer Day, Michaelmas, and Christmas). It was traditionally the day for paying rents, signing or vacating leases, and hiring farm laborers for the year.
The flower cardamine, or lady’s-smock, with its milky white flowers, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and appears about this time.
The Christian New Year’s Day
For centuries the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25, not Jan. 1, marked the first day of the New Year.
“Happy New Year!” is what we would have celebrated along with the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 if we were living some centuries ago. Back then, the Annunciation also marked the start of the New Year.
The choice was well thought out and gives us lots to contemplate. Let’s begin at this point: when reforming the calendar in 45 B.C., Julius Caesar made Jan. 1 New Year’s Day. Celebrated with non-Christian festivities, of course.
Naturally, after Jesus life, death and resurrection, the Christians wanted to celebrate New Year’s Day in a spiritual way.
One early thought was to begin the year in springtime, a natural “new beginning.” And around the time of his Resurrection. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, what also came into play was the Jewish month of Nisan, which coincides with March and April on the Julian and Gregorian calendars and opens the sacred year.
But then arose the question, on which day should the New Year begin for Christians?
That answer really narrowed down when in the sixth century there came along the monk and abbot named Dionysius Exiguus, who lived in Rome. His name isn’t familiar today, but his work certainly is, especially in the use of B.C. and A.D. He established this way of dating from the birth of Jesus Christ — Before Christ and Anno Domini (the Year of Our Lord). Dionysius wanted to start the Christian era in order to reform the Roman calendar and way of calculating events. One of his great concerns was coming up with the date of Easter.
Naturally, the first day of the New Year had to fit somewhere in the new calendar. But where?
“Since March 25 was calculated as the date of the crucifixion of Jesus, there was a belief that one died on the same day that one was conceived,” writes Father John Fields, vice chancellor and director of communications for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. “If Jesus died on March 25 — the 14th of Nisan — then he was also conceived on the 14th of Nisan — March 25.” The date we celebrate the Annunciation. And the Incarnation.
But everyone didn’t adopt it immediately because the Julian calendar was still in widespread use. Besides, here and there in Europe, at times Dec. 25, the Nativity, was being celebrated as New Year’s.
Then along came the Council of Tours which in A.D. 567, put an end to Jan. 1 as New Year’s Day and adopted March 25 as the official first day of the New Year. Soon, yet slowly, countries in Europe were using that date to begin the official New Year. By the 8th century England had adopted this way of reckoning the year. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that Charlemagne is believed to be the first Christian sovereign to use it.
Father Fields and other sources also point out that March 25 also had other implications. There was a general belief coming from early martyrologies and the early Church Fathers’ writings that March 25 was also the date on which Adam was created and which marked his fall, as well as other major events — the fall of Lucifer; Moses and the Israelites flight through the Red Sea; and Isaac offered in sacrifice by Abraham.
In 1582, along came Pope Gregory XIII who reformed the calendar. Doing so, for the calendar we now use, he placed New Year’s Day, the first day of the year, back to January 1. As he reformed the liturgical calendar also this became the Feast of the Circumcision.
But the Protestant countries weren’t so fast accepting the new Gregorian calendar. The British Empire continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on March 25 until finally adopting the Gregorian calendar on January 1, 1752.
“Until 1751, March 25 was also celebrated as New Year’s Day in the American colonies, since they were under British rule,” adds Father Fields.
Is March 25 still celebrated anywhere as New Year’s Day?
It sure is. In Tuscany in Italy. This year marks the 270th anniversary of the city of Pisa celebrating New Year’s Day on March 25. Florence does likewise (both celebrate the “other” New Year too). The event, begun in 1749, is quite colorful with concerts and festivals. Pisa has a procession to Pisa Cathedral which is dedicated to the Blessed Mother, while in Florence a local pilgrimage proceeds to the Basilica dell’Annunciazione.
So this March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, remember that for centuries this feast day was the Christian New Year’s Day.
On March 25, instead of thinking of a weepy Auld Lang Syne sort of song, pray or recite with the greatest of joy the Magnificat. For through the Annunciation and Mary’s Fiat, Our Lord Jesus was incarnated and then crucified for our redemption. Now that’s something to really wish someone a Happy New Year about!
God Becomes A Man
The central focus of the Annunciation is Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human.
Now the decision is being realized. The God-Man embraces all humanity, indeed all creation, to bring it to God in one great act of love. Because human beings have rejected God, Jesus will accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death.
Mary has an important role to play in God’s plan. From all eternity, God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God’s decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation.
Because Mary is God’s instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God-given role. It is God’s grace from beginning to end. Mary becomes the eminent figure she is only by God’s grace. She is the empty space where God could act. Everything she is she owes to the Trinity.
Together with Jesus, Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us.
Sometimes spiritual writers are accused of putting Mary on a pedestal and thereby, discouraging ordinary humans from imitating her. Perhaps such an observation is misguided. God did put Mary on a pedestal and has put all human beings on a pedestal. We have scarcely begun to realize the magnificence of divine grace, the wonder of God’s freely given love. The marvel of Mary—even in the midst of her very ordinary life—is God’s shout to us to wake up to the marvelous creatures that we all are by divine design.
At the time of the Spring Equinox, or Ostara, the Alder is flourishing on riverbanks, roots in the water, bridging that magical space between both heaven and earth. The Alder month, called Fearn by the Celts, and pronounced fairin, is a time for making spiritual decisions, magic relating to prophecy and divination, and getting in touch with your own intuitive processes and abilities.
- Dates: March 18 – April 14
- Celtic Name: Fearn
- Themes: Spirituality, intuitiveness, decisions, divination.
Falling as it does at the start of spring, the month of the Alder symbolizes the reawakening of the Earth Mother’s fertility for another cycle.
The month of the Alder signifies a period of accelerated growth, and the energy your case during this time can aid in business or creative ventures you undertake, bringing your ambitions closer to fruition. Your emphasis should be on harnessing your hidden potential.
Focusing on the Moon’s influence during this month will also help you to being a sense of balance to your work. The power of the Alder Moon will be able to unite your intuitive side with a pragmatic approach to planning.
The month of the Alder is the ideal time to focus on balancing your life, setting new goals for yourself and working to achieve them with energy and enthusiasm. You can bring more balance into you life with the following tips:
- Check your bank balance.
Always overdrawn? Find four ways you can economize this month. Small symbolic steps let the powers of the universe know that you are ready for some big changes.
- Balanced Diet.
Are you eating a balanced diet? Remember that your body is a temple. Valuing yourself is the first step to getting what you want.
- Balance your emotions.
Take up Yoga or Tai Chi during the Alder Moon. The balance of spirituality and physical exercise stimulates feelings of well-being. Your improved posture will radiate poise and confidence to the outside world.
Alder the Trailblazer
If you were born during the month of the Alder, you are a natural-born pathfinder. You’re a mover and a shaker, and will blaze a trail with fiery passion often gaining loyal followers to your cause. You are charming, gregarious and mingle easily with a broad mix of personalities.
In other words, Alder signs get along with everybody and everybody loves to hang around with you. This might be because Alder’s are easily confident and have a strong self-faith. This self-assurance is infectious and other people recognize this quality in you instantly.
Alder Celtic tree astrology signs are very focused and dislike waste. Consequently, they can see through superficialities and will not tolerate fluff. Alder people place high value on their time, and feel that wasting time is insufferable. They are motivated by action and results.
Other character traits are: a mystic charisma, confidence and strong self-faith, a good focus on goals and ideas. Alders pair well with Hawthorns, Oaks or even Birch signs.
Magick and Lore
The Alder tree is also known as the King of the waters (with the willow tree as its Queen) because its natural habitat is near lakes, rivers and streams. Take your lead from the Alder tree, drink plenty of water and breathe deeply. You will find you have more energy to make your dreams come true this spring.
The Alder tree actually grows with its roots in the water and its branches in the air and for this reason is associated with balancing of female and male energies.
The Alder is commonly used in Faerie magick. It was believed to be an access point to the faerie realms. Alder flowers and twigs are known as charms to be used in Faerie magic. Whistles were once made out of Alder shoots to call upon Air spirits, so it’s an ideal wood for making a pipe or flute if you’re musically inclined.
The wood of the Alder is white when cut but soon starts to turn rusty red, a symbolic bleeding that has linked the trees to supernatural life. The colors of white and red have both been long associated with the Goddess and fertility. The buds of the Alder tree also grow in spirals that are a symbol of regeneration and a reminder of the cycle to come.
The wood also has an incredibly high burning temperature – the highest of any wood which would have been readily available within the British Isles or Ireland. This meant that it was highly prized for forging metal – the amazing Celtic jewelry and weapons would probably have been created in an Alder fire.
Chocolate Love Ritual
Perform this simple ritual with your partner to help your love grow stronger. You will need:
- A chocolate Easter egg
- A pin
- A red candle
Create a romantic setting in the room you wish to use for your ritual with soft music and scented candles. Sit facing your partner, look into each others eyes and breathe deeply.
Light the candle, then take it in turns to say these words to each other:
“Beneath this Alder Moon I offer my love to you,
may it grow ever stronger and ever clearer,
so mote it be.”
Both use the pin to scratch four things you love about each other onto the chocolate egg. Have fun feeding each other pieces of the egg. Let the red candle burn down. Your love will grow in the year ahead.
This little-known festival was celebrated at the Temple of Edfu. It doesn’t sound like a Goddess festival, but it is, for the Hand of the God was called Iusaas or Iusaaset. This Goddess, honored in the city of Heliopolis wore a scarab beetle on her head, the symbol of transformation. She was the counterpart of the god Atum, literally his hand.
In the Pyramid Texts an early genesis story recounts how the divine All, the androgynous Atum, created the world from the substance of himself it reads:
“Atum was creative in that he proceeded to masturbate with himself in Heliopolis; he put his penis in his hand that he might obtain the pleasure of emission thereby, and there were born brother and sister ~ that is, Shu and Tefnut.”
Like Isis with whom she is sometimes identified, Iusaaset (whose name means “She Comes While She Grows Large,” a name underscoring the masturbation motif), had a sister called Nebet-hotepet, who is linked with Nephthys. Nephthys name probably means The House of Offering” perhaps referring to the womb of the All which is offered for use during the conception, gestation, and birth of the world.
It is no accident that the Feast of the Hand of the God occurs between two other birth festivals (The Birth of Horus the Younger and the Pregnancy of Nut). It is, after all, a season near the vernal equinox when light has returned to the sky and the days grow in length. It is a time when the world is made new again, when the Hand of the God brings forth life from the waters of chaos. It represents the union of masculine and feminine energies to create and sustain life.
Festival Celebration Ideas
It is unclear how the festival was celebrated in ancient Egypt. Some historians suggest that there might have been sexual rites or ritual marriages. This might be a good time for sex magick, if that is something that you enjoy.
In the Temple of Dendera, which has been called the Castle of the Menat, The Feast of the Hand of the God might have been a day in which all pregnant, including the wives and concubines of the pharaoh, might come to the temple to be blessed. Perhaps the day began with a sunrise devotion to the goddess as Mother of the All.
Perhaps amid the strains of beautiful music, the priestesses touched each pregnant woman’s belly and breasts, or anointed their faces with perfume, or even milk, whispering words of welcome to the unborn children, saying the same words priestesses used to great the nomarch Senbi, “for your spirit, behold the menat of your mother, Hathor. May she make you flourish as long as you desire.”
Hymn to Isis
Enchantress and wife, she stamps and spins.
She raises her arms
to dance. From her armpits arises a hot perfume
that fills the sails of boats along the Nile.
She stirs breezes that make the sailors swoon
and opens the eyes of statues. Under her spell,
I come to myself; under her body I come to life.
Dawn breaks through the diaphanous weave of
her dress. She dances and draws down heaven.
Sparks scatter from her heels and on earth tumbles
forth an expanse of stars…”
Activities For Today
Here are some ideas you might want to explore today. They can, of course, be done at any time.
- Get Creative
The act of creation can be playful, fun, colorful, and messy. Do a Google search and you will find a lot of simple ideas for how to make art with hand prints. This is a fun activity for kids, and the child within.
In your journal, explore what it means to you to be a cocreator of the universe with the Divine.
- Make a Collage
Gather some magazines that you feel free to cut up. Leaf through them, searching for images that appeal to you. Perhaps the images hint at where you focus your energies or where you will focus your energies in the future. Cut out the images and lay them aside. Outline your hands on a sheet of paper.
Slowly, meditatively, begin to trim, sort, and paste the images onto the image of your own hands. You might use the right hand for things that you already create and the left hand for things you will create in the future. Around the edges of these hands, write a myth of yourself as the creator of this world.
- Make a Physical Connection
Our bodies are instruments of our connection to the physical universe. Reestablish a connection to your body’s natural wisdom. With crayon, outline your body on a long sheet of butcher paper.
Begin at the top of your head and record what each part of your body remembers: your hair, your cheeks, your nose, etc. Try to list both joys and sorrows. When you find a part of your body that holds many strong memories, make not of it.
Later, return to that spot and write a dialog with that part of your body.
Source: Feasts of Light
According to some calendars, March 3rd is Aegir’s Day, this has also been referred to as the Celtic Sea Festival. The Pagan Book of Hours has a day for Aegir and Ran listed as July 25.
Ægir or Aegir is a Norse sea jötunn, a mythological giant (sometimes called a Frost Giant) and God of the sea. He’s also the brewer to the gods of Asgard. Aegir is also a God of brewing known for the beer he brewed in an enormous cauldron stolen from the giants by Thor and Loki. (Read that story here: Aegir’s Feast.)
He hosted elaborate parties, providing home-brewed ale in enormous pots. His mugs would magically refill themselves with more ale.
Married to the goddess Ran, they have nine daughters who each personify different kinds of waves.
Party and Celebration Ideas
To celebrate, have a party with a local microbrew and smørrebrød.
Roast Beef & Pickle Smørrebrød
- 1 slice rye bread, crust trimmed off
- 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1/8 lb. sliced roast beef, cut into squares
- 2 to 4 cornichons (gherkins), thinly sliced lengthwise
- fried onions, (recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Spread bread evenly with butter. Arrange roast beef on butter. Arrange cornichons and onion on top. Top with a dollop of horseradish.
- Thinly slice a white onion.
- Soak in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Drain, then dredge onion in flour.
- Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Ceremony for the Day of Aegir and Ran
- Date: July 25 – also known as 25 Haymonath
- Colors: Sea-blue, sea-green.
- Element: Water
- Offerings: Singing. Blood given to the ocean. Aid those who clean the seas.
- Song: Harp Song of the Dane Women, along with any other sea songs, sung as offerings.
- Daily Meal: Seafood.
Upon cloth colored like the sea place shells, nets, figures of fish, sea floats, and anything that comes from the sea. Place there also a cup of wine with flecks of gold in it.
Invocation to Aegir, Ran, and the Nine Sisters
Lord and Lady of the Depths,
Keepers of the great flocks and herds
That float by the millions
Through glass-green waves,
Lady Ran of the ten-times-fingering weed,
Your hair spread throughout the worlds,
Lord Aegir of the great currents
And the waves that keep the ship afloat,
Generous in your bounty,
Capricious in your favor,
Brewer of ale for gods and lost souls,
Keep us safe as we pass over your realm
In life, in dreams, and in mystery.
Nine Sisters of the Waves, Sacred Undines,
Daughters of Aegir and Ran, fish-tailed,
Blood on your hands and beauty in your song,
We hail you from the shores, the depths, the heights of sea-cliffs.
Kolga the Cold One, Ice-Maiden of the floes and castles.
Duva the Hidden One, Keeper of island treasures.
Blodughadda, Blood-Haired One, shark’s delight.
Hronn, Sucking Whirlpool, Eel-daughter and Mistress of Fear.
Hevring, Heaving Storm, Mourning’s Mistress.
Bara, Great Wave of the Whale, battering the land’s stalwart stand.
Bylgja, Breaker’s Dancer, Rider of the Wave-Horse.
Unn, Billowing Tides, Maiden of the Counting Moon’s Rhythm.
Himinglava, Fair-Weather Mermaid, Sun Shining Through.
Teach us by the Powers of Water
How to find the way to our own souls.
Aegir is the presiding spirit of the ocean. He may also be understood as actually being the ocean. This ancient deity is beloved but feared. Petition him for safety on the seas and to reveal the secrets of the deep. Aegir knows everything. He is a well of knowledge and can theoretically fill any request or recruit another deity who can.
Petitions should always be accompanied with offerings. An altar may be built for him, or offerings may be brought to the sea. Be generous. He’s a king.
Give him objects reminiscent of the sea. Give him fine old coins – sailors once carried them so that in case they drowned, they wouldn’t arrive at Aegir’s hall empty handed. Serve him mead and ale, acknowledging that you know it’s nowhere near as good as what he serves at home.
Aegir – The Moon
Aegir, originally called S/2004 S10, is a natural satellite of Saturn. Its discovery was announced on May 4, 2005, from observations taken between December 12, 2004, and March 11, 2005.
Aegir is a member of the Norse group of moons. These “irregular” moons have retrograde orbits around Saturn—traveling around in the opposite direction from the planet’s rotation. Aegir and the other Norse moons also have eccentric orbits, meaning they are more elongated than circular.
Like Saturn’s other irregular moons, Aegir is thought to be an object that was captured by Saturn’s gravity, rather than having accreted from the dusty disk that surrounded the newly formed planet as the regular moons are thought to have done.
Aegir is about 6 kilometres in diameter, and orbits Saturn at an average distance of 19,618 Mm in 1025.908 days, at an inclination of 167° to the ecliptic (140° to Saturn’s equator), in a retrograde direction and with an eccentricity of 0.237.
The moon was named in April 2007 after Ægir, a giant from Norse mythology, the personification of tranquil seas, the one who soothes storms away. He is a son of Fornjót, and brother of Logi (fire, flame) and Kári (wind).
The name may be pronounced various ways. /ˈaɪjɪər/ (with the ‘g’ pronounced as a y-sound) approximates modern Norwegian and Icelandic. /ˈæɡɪər/ (with a hard ‘g’) approximates what the Old Norse may have sounded like, while the Latinized/spelling pronunciations /ˈiːdʒɪər/, /ˈɛdʒɪər/ and /ˈeɪdʒɪər/ are also found.
Aegir – the Tidal Bore
Aegir also gives his name to the tidal bore on the river Trent (in England) which is particularly powerful around the equinoxes. At certain times of the year, it is possible to see a bore of up to five feet high.
Aegir is said to rush up the river to try and reclaim the surrounding land and expand his watery kingdom.
The Trent Aegir is also known as the Eagre. The Aegir occurs when a high spring tide meets the downstream flow of the river forcing it back and causing a wave to flow upstream. Typically it is possible to see the bore from Derrythorpe to as far up the river as Gainsborough. Beyond Gainsborough the bore is reduced to a ripple.
The best places to see the Aegir are at Gainsborough, Morton, East Stockwith, West Stockwith and Owston Ferry.
The tidal bore is notoriously difficult to predict as there are several factors involved in its appearance but the Crowle Community Forum at Crowle.org does have an Aegir timetable which you can check out. (2021 predictions)
There is a lot to celebrate in March. This is a list of pretty much everything that goes on during the third month of the year. Many of these dates change from year to year. The days that change are marked with this » symbol.
March Lore and General Info
Depending on which astrological system you adhere to, these are the signs that show up in March of 2021. Be aware that some of these dates will vary from year to year. Unlike the Sun signs which might just shift by 1 or 2 days, the dates of the various Moon signs will vary widely from year to year. The same holds true for the Chinese Zodiac. The Celtic Tree Signs are based on an arbitrary system and stay the same from year to year.
The March Sun begins in Pisces and finishes up in Aries:
The March 2021 Moon cycles through the signs as follows. You will notice that the Moon might begin the day in one sign and by the end of the day may have moved into another sign, so timing matters if you are wanting to be precise:
- Feb 28 – Mar 2 » Moon in Libra
- Mar 2 – Mar 7 » Moon in Scorpio
- Mar 7 – Mar 9 » Moon in Capricorn
- Mar 9 – Mar 11 » Moon in Aquarius
- Mar 11 – Mar 13 » Moon in Pisces
- Mar 13 – Mar 16 » Moon in Aries
- Mar 16 – Mar 18 » Moon in Taurus
- Mar 18 – Mar 21 » Moon in Gemini
- Mar 21 – Mar 23 » Moon in Cancer
- Mar 23 – Mar 26 » Moon in Leo
- Mar 26 – Mar 28 » Moon in Virgo
- Mar 28 – Mar 30 » Moon in Libra
- Mar 30 – Apr 1 » Moon in Scorpio
The Celtic Tree Signs in March:
- Feb 18 to Mar 17 – Ash Tree Month
- Mar 18 to Apr 14 – Alder Tree Month
- Mar 21 – Vernal Equinox – Gorse Tree Day
The Alternative Celtic Zodiac is as follows:
- Pine: Feb 21 – Mar 2
- Willow: Mar 3 – Mar 12
- Lime: Mar 13 – Mar 20
- Oak: Mar 21 (Vernal Equinox) – Sign of the Oak Tree
- Hazel: Mar 22 – Mar 31
The Chinese Calendar and Zodiac
We are currently in the year of the Ox (sometimes referred to as the Cow). Each Month is also assigned a specific animal. Here’s what shows up in March 2021.
- Tiger: Feb 3 – Mar 4 (Chinese Zodiac – Stem Branch Calendar)
- Tiger: Feb 12 – Mar 12 (Lunar Calendar – 1st Lunar Month)
- Rabbit: Mar 5 – Apr 3 (Chinese Zodiac – Stem Branch Calendar)
- Rabbit: Mar 13 – Apr 11 ( Lunar Calendar – 2nd Lunar Month)
Note: The traditional Chinese Astrology birth chart is built by the Chinese Stem Branch Calendar, not the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which I think is really confusing. Because of a difference in time zones, the lunar months will have different pattern between China and the USA.
Lucky and Unlucky Days
You might want to plan moving, traveling, major purchases, court dates, and weddings around these dates, avoiding the unlucky days and utilizing the lucky ones.
- These are the lucky days in March:
10 and 24.
- These are the unlucky days in March:
1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 14, 16, 28 and 29.
The first the greedy glutton slays,
The fourth cuts short the drunkard’s days.
Holidays and Holy Days
Many of the holidays begin on the eve of the night before and end on the eve of the day of. It’s also important to remember that the dates of archaic festivals and feast days may vary widely depending on the source.
- 1: Matronalia – the Festival of Women
- 1: New Year’s Day in the old Roman calendar.
- 1: Mother March
- 1: Feriae Marti – Festival of Mars
- 1 thru 9: Navajo Sing – Festival in which fields are blessed in preparation for planting.
- 2: Holy Wells Day – the day of Ceadda, the Celtic goddess of healing springs and holy wells.
- 3: Aegir’s Day (Teutonic) – sometimes called the Celtic Sea Festival
- 3: Creation Day
- 3: Momo no Sekku – Peach Festival
- 3: Hina Matsuri – Girl’s Festival, or Doll Festival
- 4: The Anestheria – Greek festival of flowers
- 4: Feast of Rhiannon
- 4: Maha Shivaratri – Great Night of Shiva, Vigil and feast for Transcendence
- 5: The Festival of Navigation – Navigium Isidis
- 5 » Excited Insects begins (Chinese Farmer’s Calendar)
- 6 (cancelled this year due to Covid) » Running of the Reindeer (Alaska)
- 7 thru 14: Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries. Old Greek festival celebrating the marriage of Goddess Kore and God Dionysos, following their return from Elysium.
- 8: Birthday of Mother Earth
- 8 » Dakini Day (Tibetan)
- 8 » Celebrate Artemis’ Birthday on the March Crescent Moon
- 9 » Day of Ekadashi (Hindu)
- 10: The Daedala
- 10: Hypatia’s Day
- 10 thru 12 » Melasti (Bali) – A purification ceremony that takes place at the beach several days prior to Nyepi.
- 11: Johnny Appleseed Day
- 11: Hercules’ Day
- 13 » Snake Saturday (local celebrations may be postponed due to Covid)
- 13 » Feast of Purification (Bali)
- 14 » Mothering Sunday
- 14 » The Noumenia
- 14: The Diasia to ward off poverty – Greece.
- 14 » Forgiveness Sunday
- 14 » Nyepi Day
- 14 » Snake Sunday
- 14: Equirria
- 14 » A Day of Silence
- 16 thru 17: Bacchanalia – The festival of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine
- 17: St Patrick’s Day
- 17: Damballah’s Day
- 17: Liberalia – the festival of Liber and Libera, a Roman fertility god and goddess
- 19: Festival of Anna Perenna – the Roman goddess of the circle of the year.
- 19 thru 23: The Mivervalia and Quinquatria, main festivals of Minerva, the Roman goddess of war, wisdom arts and trades.
- 20: Festival of Isis
- 20: Ostara
- 20: Méan Earraigh – Vernal Equinox
- 20: Norooz – Persian/Zoroastrian New Year
- 20: Mabon (Southern Hemisphere)
- 20 thru 21: Feast of Esther, Purim
- 24: Day of Blood
- 26: Plowing Day
- 27 thru Apr 4 » Passover
- 27: Smell The Breeze Day
- 28: Ragnar Lodbrok`s Day – a celebration in honor of the sacking of Paris
- 28 » Palm Sunday
- 28 thru 29 » Holi
- 29: The Delphinia, or Artemis Soteira of Artemis in Greece
- 29: Festival of Ishtar
- 29: Expulsion of the Demons of Bad Luck
- 29 thru 31: Borrowing Days
- 30: Festival of Salus
- 30: Day of Bau
- 31 » Holy Wednesday
- 31 » Ascent of the Christ of the Gypsies
- 31: Festival of Luna – the Roman goddess of the moon
There is a surprising amount of magick associated with Saint days This is a very short list of the Saint days in March, there are many many more. As time goes by I may end up listing them all, but for now, this is what I have.
- 1: St David’s Day
- 17: St Patrick’s Day
- 19: St. Joseph’s Day
- 24: Feast Day of Archangel Gabriel
- 25: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary
Recipes For March
Many seasonal recipes, including recipes for new and full moon ceremonies, ancient Greek and Roman holidays, Asian festivals and etc can be found here: Seasonal Recipes.
Any March lore, almanac, astrological, and celebration dates that have been shared after this post was published can be found by searching the March posts to see what’s new.
A lot of work went into this post. It was which was compiled from various sources by Shirley Twofeathers for The Pagan Calendar, you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.
In ancient Europe, the winter’s ice began to thaw during the Celtic Month of Ash Moon. People ventured out of their homes and villages for the first time since the darkening days of late autumn. It is perhaps for this reason that this month is linked with journeys of all kinds. Energy directed now should focus on transformation, moving you into a new space either physically or spiritually.
The month of the Ash Moon is a good time to start planning your summer holiday and to acclimatize your body to spending time outside. Cast energy forward that takes your inner energies on an excursion by harnessing natural forces, such as floating wishes downstream in a paper boat, or blessing a feather and letting it fly on the wind. Valentine’s Day also occurs near the time of the Ash Moon, so cast love energy that focuses on sharing your journey in the year ahead with someone special.
- Dates: February 18 – March 17
- Irish/Gaelic name: Nuin, Nion
- Themes: Balance, Endurance, Strength, Protection.
- Language of Flowers: Grandeur
- Qualities: Balance, Stability, Strength, Protection, Connection, Vitality, Fertility, Justice, Wisdom, Connection
- Associated With: Prophetic Dreams and Spiritual Journeys.
Ash is one of our mightiest trees. A huge physical specimen when mature, and also a tree with some of the most impressive myth, meaning and folklore around it.
In ancient Europe, Ash trees were enormous, towering high above the landscape with a thick trunk and deep roots. The Celts interpreted three distinct things from this tree, expansion, growth, and higher perspective. The incredibly complex root system also symbolized remaining grounded despite how much growth was taking place in one’s life.
This belief was perfectly aligned with the esoteric message of the ash. The Druids and the Norse peoples believed all the realms were connected via branches of a giant mystical ash tree known as Yggdrasil.
This World Tree, Yggdrassil, was an almighty ash tree that joined together the heavenly realms in its branches, the earthly realms in its trunk, and the realms of the underworld through its roots.
The spear of Odin was made from the branch of this tree, which is also known by the Celtic name Nion, pronounced knee-un. One of three trees sacred to the Druids (Ash, Oak and Thorn), the month of the Ash tree is a good month to do magic that focuses on the inner self and spells that focus on spiritual journeys, and prophetic dreams.
The wood of the ash tree was used extensively in ritual practices as it burned with an intense heat, even when green. The ash was often the Yule log – feted and decorated as it was brought into the home, farmstead, or inn, fed mead or wine and then burnt on the hearth with the charred remains kept as kindling for next year’s Yule log. The ashes of the Yule log were often used to protect the home from lightning.
The most productive magickal tools are made from the branches of the Ash tree. Ash has also historically been used to make staffs or staves. An early Iron Age find on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales was a staff of ash with a ribbon of copper spiraling around it, thought to be a druid’s staff. It’s also the wood traditionally used for witches’ broomstick handles (birch for the brush part).
Ash is very much associated with rain and water, especially with thunderstorms and their associated downpours. Thor, the god of thunder had a spear of ash. It’s thought that the tall height of the ash tree may attract lightning.
A country rhyme tells us:
“Avoid an ash,
for it courts a flash”
While its association with wet weather is recognized in the old weather lore:
“Ash before the oak,
We shall surely get a soak,
Oak before the ash,
We shall only get a splash”
The Greek god of the sea and storms, Poseidon, was also associated with the ash tree. The Norns watered and tended to the tree and covered its bark with clay to protect it. They also gave the (burnt) fruit of the tree to women in childbirth and so it is associated with childbirth as well.
The ash tree is about balance and stability. Its roots grow to the same size as its branches which means the tree is very stable and grounded with a good inner balance. As the World Tree, it provides balance between the earthly realm, the heavens, and the underworld.
Ash provides strength, endurance, and protects what we hold dear. It is justice, protection, and healing. It is life-giving rain and fertility in spring.
Ash the Enchanter
Free thinkers are born under the Ash Celtic tree astrology sign. They possess vivid imagination, intuition and their second nature is to be artists. They can see the world crystal clear, but have the tendency to be moody and withdrawn at times. Don’t think that they have some sort of a bipolar disorder. It’s all due to the fact that their inner world is constantly moving and changing.
These enchanters from the Ash sign are drawn towards art, writing, spiritual matters, and even science. Good partners for this Celtic tree astrology sign are the Willow and Reed signs.
Practicing this technique during the Ash Moon will free your mind from stress and attract solutions to your problems. You will need a smudge stick, a bunch of herbs – usually white sage – that is used to ‘smudge’ or cleanse an area with smoke.
Light a smudge stick, then take time to relax and breathe deeply. Direct the smoke around your body, taking time to cleanse your aura, and say,
“Spirit I walk this journey and invite you to join me.
May each step be sacred.”
Set out on a walk that takes you through nature. Everything on your journey has a message for you, so relax and enjoy it.
On your return write down any animals you encountered and unusual sights or flashes of inspiration you received.
From The Power Path, we have this article about the theme for March 2019. I think it could be applied to the current month of March as well.
The main theme for March is “THE NEXT STEP.” In taking that “next step”, we are also dealing with anxiety, fear, confusion and trusting the unknown.
We exit the month of February with lots of bits and pieces on our plate. Some are clear, some make no sense, some fit the puzzle, some don’t, some have come out of the blue creating sudden change, and some feel like road blocks with no clear solution……yet. There will be those of you that begin this month in a slight state of overwhelm and anxiety. Others will be excited about the possibilities and ready to launch into that next step. A lot was put into motion last month and some of it is just beginning to manifest.
The “next step” is on everyone’s mind. We all know that we are moving forward in some way. Some of you know exactly what that is and are chomping at the bit to get there already. But for many there are still unknowns, loose ends and gaps in clarity that may be producing anxiety, worry and fear. We know we are going somewhere, creating something new, we just do not have all the parts together yet, and the fear is that we will fail or be disappointed and unsuccessful in reaching our goals.
As we evolve, we are inevitably moving into a higher octave, a higher vibration, the upper room. But our fears are holding us back as we cling to what we know, as unsatisfying as that may be. There is no stopping the evolutionary process. It is like telling your hair or fingernails not to grow. The more you cling and hold back, the greater the possibility you will end up in depression and despair with blocked creativity and a feeling of stagnation.
Will we survive? Of course, we will, but our instinctive centers are not convinced of this. They will dig out from our subconscious every reason not to take a risk towards improvement and stir up every fear from the past causing us to worry and be anxious about what has not yet happened. If you are waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety that has no connection to anything in your life, this is the instinctive center reacting to the collective non-specific anxiety triggered by change and what has been activated
What we need this month is to quiet the mind, nurture the body, and eliminate the worry about the future by staying present as much as possible. When you are focused on the present, the past disappears and the future does not yet exist. What does it mean to be present? Being present is a constant discipline of pulling your attention away from the past and the future and staying focused on what is right in front of you. This requires trust in right timing and that your unseen support system will guide you to the right place at the right time and keep you on that golden line towards your intentions, your true path.
Because the future we are dreaming up is filled with unknowns, the mind cannot process the next step and has no information for us about how to get where we wish to go. The good news is that the greater dreams and intentions have already been put into motion and we just have to get out of the way and allow them to manifest without micromanaging the details or focusing on what seems to be negative and destructive around us. Since the mind only pulls information from what it knows from past experiences, it cannot possibly have the information about the future until the future becomes the present. Therefore, “the next step” requires trusting in the unknown and being fully present to take advantage of the opportunities that show up, some suddenly, and some little by little.
The whirlwind of action, change, disruption and chaos will get a reprieve this month as Mercury goes retrograde on the 5th for three weeks. As inconvenient as this can be for communication, timing and mishaps, it does give us the opportunity to take a breath, look at all the pieces and see where they either fit or do not fit into our next step. Everyone has a next step and there is always a next step. It is important this month to honor and focus on what the next step is so you don’t get stuck in the despairing thought that this is as good as it gets.
So, set your intention from what has been activated last month. Include your passion and emotional enthusiasm. Set it on the golden line. Calm the instinctive center of its fear and anxiety. Keep a “don’t know mind”. Trust the unknown. Set good boundaries against other peoples’ drama, fear and anxiety. Have some fun! Life is an Adventure and Adventure is one of the needs of the year, so enjoy!
Holika, or Holi for short, is the Festival of Color. It marks the end of the nippy winter months and the beginning of spring. This festival comes during the full moon in the Hindu month of Phagan, in February or March. In 2019, it falls on March 21, with the Holika Dahan beginning the evening of March 20.
Bura na mano, Holi hai!
“Don’t mind (feel offense), it’s Holi!”
Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated on different dates every year. This great Indian festival is observed at the end of the winters in the month of March after the full Moon. A day before Holi a large bonfire is lit that helps in burning out the evil spirits and that whole process is called as Holika Dahan.
Traditions and customs:
- Throwing colored powder on each other
- Throwing colored and scented water
- Public bonfire
- Singing, dancing, and festive parties
- This is a day to forget your worries
- Color can be found everywhere
Holi is celebrated with extreme enthusiasm and joy. Gulal, abeer and pichkaris are synonymous with the festival. Elaborate plans are made to color loved ones and family members. Everybody wants to be the first one to color the other. In the ensuing battle of colors, everybody is drowned not just in colors of gulal but also in love and mirth. People love to drench each other in colored water. Gujiyas and other sweets are offered to everyone who comes across to color.
Temples are beautifully decorated at the time of Holi. Idol of Radha is placed on swings and devotees turn the swings singing devotional Holi songs. Small plays are organized reflecting the spirit of the festival.
Fun, frolic, boisterousness to the extent of buffoonery marks this festival of colors. What more can be expected- when the people get a social sanction to get intoxicated on the bhang, open not just their hearts but also their lungs. And viola, nobody is expected to take offense too, as the norm of the day is, ‘Bura na mano Holi hai‘.
Holi Legends and Mythology
Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. He demanded that no one pray to Lord Vishnu and that they only pray to him. In fear, people did as he bid. However, his son Pralhad was devoted to Lord Vishnu and would not abide by his father’s rules. To discipline him, Hirankashyap ordered harsh and cruel punishments, yet no harm came to Pralhad.
Finally, Holika (Hirankashyap sister), who was immune to the harms of fire, was ordered to sit on a bed of flames with Pralhad on her lap. Holika was burnt, but Pralhad survived unharmed. As Holika lay dying she begged Pralhad for forgiveness. Pralhad forgave her and deemed that one day a year would be to remember her. To commemorate “Holi”, large bonfires burn and people say a prayer to “Holi” for well-being.
Holi is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. A young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about having such a dark complexion compared to his love Radha who was so fair. Yashoda told him to apply color to Radha’s face and see what would happen.
Today, celebrations start early in Nandagaon, where Lord Krishna grew up. Men from Nandagaon raid nearby Barsana (where Radha grew up) with hopes of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. The women of Barsana “beat” the raiders with long wooden sticks. This is a mock battle and the men are well-padded as they try to evade capture. If captured, the men are forced to dress as women, paint their faces, and dance!
Mythology also states that Holi is the celebration of death of Ogress Pootana who tried to kill infant, Krishna by feeding him poisonous milk.
Another legend of Holi which is extremely popular in Southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. According to the legend, people in south celebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.
Also, popular is the legend of Ogress Dhundhi who used to trouble children in the kingdom of Raghu and was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day of Holi. Showing their belief in the legend, children till date play pranks and hurl abuses at the time of Holika Dahan.
Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassure the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad also points to the fact that extreme devotion to god pays as god always takes his true devotee in his shelter.
All these legends help the people to follow a good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is extremely important in the modern day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture one who is honest. Holi helps the people to believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight away the evil.
Besides, holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. This gives a people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi.
Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. For, the festival is celebrated by non-Hindus also as everybody like to be a part of such a colorful and joyous festival.
Also, the tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood.
In the evening people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets and greetings. This helps in revitalizing relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between people.
It is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun.
We also need to thank our forefathers who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time. And, also for incorporating so much fun in the festival.
Why Celebrate Holi?
As Holi comes at a time of the year when people have a tendency to feel sleepy and lazy. This is natural for the body to experiences some tardiness due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To counteract this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly or even speak loudly. Their movements are brisk and their music is loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body.
Besides, the colors when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.
There is yet another scientific reason for celebrating the Holi, this however pertains to the tradition of Holika Dahan. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.
The way Holi is celebrated in south, the festival also promotes good health. For, the day after the burning of Holika people put ash (Vibhuti) on their forehead and they would mix Chandan (sandalpaste) with the young leaves and flowers of the Mango tree and consume it to promote good health.
Some also believe that play with colors help to promote good health as colors are said to have great impact on our body and our health. Western-Physicians and doctors believe that for a healthy body, colors too have an important place besides the other vital elements. Deficiency of a particular color in our body causes ailment, which can be cured only after supplementing the body with that particular color.
People also clean-up their houses on Holi which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house and get rid of mosquitoes and others pests. A clean house generally makes the residents feel good and generate positive energies.
Nyepi Day in Bali is a New Year celebration unlike anywhere else on the planet. Unlike other cultures that celebrate New Year with vivacious and loud festivities, the pinnacle of Balinese New Year is a day of complete Silence. Hence the name Nyepi, meaning “to keep silent” in the local language, which falls on the day following the dark moon of the spring equinox.
It’s ultimately the quietest day of the year, when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by a set of local rules. These bring all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads all over Bali are void of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their home premises.
Nyepi is a day fully dedicated to connect oneself more closely with God (Hyang Widi Wasa) through prayers and at the same time as a day of self-introspection to decide on values, such as humanity, love, patience, kindness, and others, that should be kept forever.
The unique day of silence marks the turn of the Saka calendar of western Indian origin. It’s one among the many calendars assimilated by Indonesia’s diverse cultures. The Saka is also among two calendars that are jointly used in Bali. The Saka is 78 years behind the Gregorian calendar, and follows a lunar sequence. Nyepi follows after a new moon, and the dates vary from year to year.
Before the Silence Before ‘the silence’, highlight rituals essentially start three days prior to Nyepi, with colourful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from various village temples all over Bali convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines where elaborate purification ceremonies take place. It is one of the best times to capture on camera the iconic Balinese processions in motion, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer a cultural spectacle.
Village meeting halls known as ‘banjar’ and streets feature papier-mâché effigies called ogoh-ogoh. They are built throughout the weeks leading up to the Saka New Year. Youth groups design and build their mythical figures with intricately shaped and tied bamboo framework before many layers of artwork. These artistic creations are offshoots of the celebration. Much of it has stayed on to become an inseparable element in the island-wide celebration that’s Nyepi Eve.
Then on Saka New Year’s Eve, it is all blaring noise and merriment. Every Balinese household starts the evening with blessings at the family temple and continues with a ritual called the pengrupukan where each member participates in ‘chasing away’ malevolent forces, known as bhuta kala, from their compounds – hitting pots and pans or any other loud instruments along with a fiery bamboo torch. These ‘spirits’ are later manifested as the ogoh-ogoh to be paraded in the streets. As the street parades ensue, bamboo cannons and occasional firecrackers fill the air with flames and smoke. The Nyepi Eve parade usually starts at around 19:00 local time.
However on Nyepi Day, complete calm enshrouds the island. The Balinese Hindus follow a ritual called the Catur Brata Penyepian, roughly the ‘Four Nyepi Prohibitions’. These include:
- amati geni or ‘no fire’
- amati lelungan or ‘no travel’
- amati karya ‘no activity’
- amati lelanguan ‘no entertainment’
Some consider it a time for total relaxation and contemplation, for others, a chance for Mother Nature to ‘reboot’ herself after a year of human pestering. No lights are turned on at night – total darkness and seclusion goes along with this new moon island-wide, from 06:00 to 06:00. No motor vehicles whatsoever are allowed on the streets, except ambulances and police patrols and emergencies. Traditional community watch patrols or pecalang enforce the rules of Nyepi, patrolling the streets by day and night in shifts.
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