Pagan Calendar

The sending of cards is a fairly modern tradition, and used to be only for people that you would not be actually seeing. It was considered polite to give your greetings in person, whenever you could. However, today clever marketing from the manufacturers means that we tend to send cards to everyone, even when they live in the same house.

Whether you celebrate Yule, Christmas or another festival in December, you will probably be sending greeting cards. If you do this now then not only do you save a panic later, but also you will have the time to do a bit more than just scrawl your name. For those people with whom you are not in regular contact, try writing a few lines telling them what’s happening in your world at present. You could also enclose a small token, perhaps a pressed flower, to bring them cheer. Of course if you have the time it can be nice to make your own cards, and there are kits which can be bought to help with this.

For special people make your card into a spell for them. Decorate it with flowers or other plants which will bring them good fortune, like Fern, Oak, Holly, Poppy, Rose petals, or Violet. Alternatively, select plants for harmony, like Lavender, Passion Flower and Gardenia.

So get out your address book, dust off your memory and write your cards, now, before the festive season gets fully under way. You’ll thank yourself for it later! And don’t forget to have a few cards over, just in case there’s someone you forget.

From: The Real Witches’ Year

By the time writing first appeared (around 3100 B.C.E.) ancient Egyptian life centered around no less than three calendars. The lunar calendar, the civil calendar, and the Sothic calendar. These calendars were based on the celestial patterns of the moon, the sun, and the star Sirius, respectively.

The Lunar Calendar

The moon with its regular cycle became the oldest time keeper. Coinciding with a woman’s menstrual cycles, it was the perfect instrument to keep track of her and the animal’s fertile times and to record the patterns of life. No wonder the goddesses Isis and Hathor were associated with the moon.

The Solar Calendar

The civil calendars were solar based and used the movement of the sun across the sky to signal the approaching seasons. When roaming the countryside, chasing game, and gathering food gave way to the practice of agriculture, it became more important for our ancestors to master the signs of the growing seasons than to follow animal migration patterns.

Early agriculturists began to look up at the sky in an effort to learn when to prepare the ground, when to plant, and when to reap. Unlike lunar calendars, solar calendars marked the solstices (the longest and shortest days of the year), as well as the equinoxes (when the days and nights were of equal length).

In addition, seasonal changes that affected the growing season were predicted by observing the rise of certain constellations, particularly those constellations that followed the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun through the heavens). Thus, the appearance of the twelve zodiacal constellations formed an important part of the civil and solar calendar.

Correcting The Inconsistencies

Because the moon cycles didn’t exactly match the sun cycles, five intercalary days, called Epagomenal Days, were eventually added to the calendar year. In Egypt those five days honored the births of the great neters (Supreme Deities) Osiris, Horus, Seth, Isis, and Nephthys. Even after the Epagomenal Days were added to the solar calendar, it was still inexact because the true year is actually a few hours longer than 365 days.

To determine exactly when the seasons would change and when to sow or harvest, the Egyptians began to track and observe all the heavenly bodies, including the moon, the sun, the constellations, and the brightest, most visible stars. By watching the sky over the years, people began to notice that just before dawn near the summer solstice, the rising of the Dog Star Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens.

The rising of this star was a better, more reliable predictor of the coming of the flood season than the solar calendar alone. When the star appeared, the flood waters flowing from the southern mountains and highlands appeared soon after. By observing Sirius, preparations for planting and sowing could be made well in advance. In addition, the regularity of the rise of Sirius most closely resembled the true length of the year.

The Sothic Calendar

The brilliant star Sirius, appearing in the constellation we know as Canis Major, was ancient Egypt’s most important star. The Egyptians called the star Sopdet and equated it with Isis, the powerful goddess of regeneration.

The Greeks called the star Sothis, later developing a so-called Sothic calendar that kept even more regular track of the years and the seasons, being most nearly 365.25 days. Even then the calendar still wasn’t perfect.Incremental changes were occurring due to the rotation of the earth, the tilt of the earth, and the procession of the equinoxes.

The Civil Calendar

By divine decree laid down in the mists of prehistory, the Egyptian priest-king swore never to alter the civil calendar, even though its solar-basted calculations were not keeping up with the changing seasons. The reason for this seemingly irrational adherence lay in the fact that the year had been divinely established by the god of wisdom and time, Thoth.

Thoth’s laws were the laws of the gods, and divine laws were considered unalterable. The real reason may have been that astrologer priests were tracking an even larger arc of time – a procession not of the sun and moon, but of the equinoxes – that resulted in a kind of calendar of the ages.

When the Greeks arrived in Egypt, however, they saw little value in maintaining such a cosmic calendar when the civil calendar was so woefully out of alignment. Once they established themselves as kings, the Ptolemaic Greeks believed that the time had come to alter Thoth’s divine law. They coerced the priests into adding an extra day every four years to even out the true calendar. The result created the leap year, which we use even to this day.

How The Egyptian Calendar Works

At first Egypt’s calendar seems hard to understand because we are conditioned to our own notions of month and season derived from the Romans. Really, the ancient Egyptian calendar is fairly simple. The year has twelve months, the months have three weeks, and each week has ten days. This represented the basic system of the lunar year.

Tacked on to the end of these 360 days were the five Epagomenal Days, added to create the 365 days of the solar year. The Epagomenal Days signaled the end of the year and were followed by the new year’s celebration, just as New Year’s Day follows New Year’s Eve in our calendar. But, whereas we begin counting in the winter month of January, the ancient Egyptians began counting at the rise of the Dog Star Sirius, which occurs in the middle of our summer.

This system makes perfect sense because the new year signaled the beginning of a new agricultural cycle. When the Dog Star rose, the Nile flooded, and the parched earth was refertilized The sacred actions of the Nile River – its flooding, its retreat into its banks leaving fertile soil, and its eventual low flow creating drought conditions – determined  not only the major festivals of the pharaoh and his people,but the three seasons of the year.

The Three Seasons

The ancient Egyptians did not celebrate four seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter as we do. Rather, their three seasons were uniquely timed to the particular agricultural requirements in their geographic region. The three seasons were:

  • Ahket – Innundation

Also called the Red Season, it extended from mid July to mid November, when most of the river valley and Delta were underwater.

  • Pert – Sowing

Also called the Black Season, it extended from mid November to mid March, the equivalent to our spring, which the Egyptians called the Coming Forth.

  • Shemu – Harvest

Also called the White Season, it extended from mid March to mid July when crops were harvested. By season’s end, everything was dry and the fields were scorched.

From: Feasts of Light

The great and supreme powers of ancient Egypt were the Gods and Goddesses of nature. The coming of the annual flood, the blossoming of the lotus, the rising of the brightest star in the sky, the disappearance of the moon, the eclipsing of the sun, the cutting of the wheat – all were occasions in which the Divine manifested on earth.

The religious life of the ancient Egyptians was marked by the celebration of the following kinds of sacred events:

  • Festivals dedicated to a particular god or goddess which honored them through the public remembrance of their mythic lives.
  • Festivals which honored the dead, bringing together a sense of the tribal community and the ancestral history and marking the cycles of time.
  • Festivals which initiated the agrarian work cycles of preparing, sowing, and harvesting, as well as lying fallow.

In all probablity these seasonal festivals were determined by astronomical markers, such as the equinoxes, the solstices, and the rise of particular stars and constellations.

These were sacred events to which the Great Gods and Goddesses provided their blessings, for they were the manifestations of the cosmic cycle of nature. The will of the Gods was made known through the great pattern laid out in the sky by celestial phenomena.

There earliest festivals were those celebrating the mysteries of the Goddess in her appearance as the day and night sky, as both sun and moon. Most of the original ancient Egyptian feast days were celebrated at the new or the full moon. The ancient hieroglyph for “month” was the image of the moon itself. Apparently, the original festival calendar was lunar.

Of course, many Egyptian feast days are moveable feasts; that is, they are lunar festivals timed to phases of the moon. Thus, their occurrence might slip around from one year to the next. Other Egyptian festival dates were set by the motion of the stars, the planets, and the actions of the sun.

In any true sense it would be impossible for us to know the actual recurring dates of many of the festivals. We can, however approximate the ancient dates, which is what most Egyptologists do.

During the season of Inundation more major public festival occurred than at any other time of the year, most of them related to fertility rites and abundance rituals. The feasts tended to occupy the general public during this time because the land was so flooded that little real work could be done.

By comparison, the Sowing season had fewer festivals. Once the waters receded and work in the fields began, the Sowing season was the busiest time of year. The growing season was quickly followed by the Harvest season. But during the final months of the year, when the harvest had ended and the land was dry, the festivals began again, mostly in anticipation of the coming Inundation.

The festival calendar, as it appears to us now, spans three thousand years of Egyptian history and probably was being recorded, observed, and manipulated many thousands of years before that. In those three millennia a great many political and religious changes affected the designated feast days. Some feasts fell out of favor, others were renamed, a few were entirely forgotten.

From: Feasts of Light

Wassailing means “to wish health to” one’s apple trees, in the hope that they will bear well. In addition, drums, bells, whistles etc. were used either to scare off evil spirits, or to wake the tree up; a libation of cider or ale was poured over the roots, and bread that had soaked in the ‘wassailing’ bowl was placed in the branches – an offering back to the tree.

Note:

Recipes for wassail are numerous and varied. Some call for the use of apple cider, some for wine. The basic idea is that you are making a hot spiced drink and serving it in a bowl amidst love and laughter. Here is a simple recipe that calls for cranberry and orange juice. Feel free to experiment and substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup grenadine
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup rum (optional)
  • Sugar or honey – to taste

Directions:

Put everything into a large soup or stock pot and bring to a low simmer. If you added honey or sugar, mix gently until it dissolves. Lower the heat and very low simmer the mixture for 2 hours before serving. Keep it on low or use a crockpot on low if serving over hours. The longer you heat, the more infused the flavors will be.

Orange slices or orange wedges studded with cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cranberries can be floated in the pot and simmered along with the rest of the ingredients.

When you are ready to serve your Christmas Wassail, just ladle into your favorite mug and enjoy. This delicious and warm drink is a holiday treat! Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you like.

Source: Earthwitchery

Figgy pudding is a pudding resembling something like a white Christmas pudding containing figs. The pudding may be baked, steamed in the oven, boiled or fried. The history of figgy pudding dates back to 16th century England. Its possible ancestors include savory puddings such as crustades, fygeye or figge (a potage of mashed figs thickened with bread), creme boiled (a kind of stirred custard), and sippets. In any case, its methods and ingredients appear in diverse older recipes.

Today, the term figgy pudding is popularized mainly by the Christmas carol “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” which includes the line, “Now bring us some figgy pudding” in the chorus.

And here it is (from Food.com) a recipe for Figgy Pudding. This is not a traditional pudding, it’s actually more bread or cake-like. The taste may be a little strange to some, but it smells and tastes like Christmas. The figgy pudding should always be served warm. If you can’t serve it fresh out of the oven, it will taste just fine to warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces dried figs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a a medium saucepan, heat milk and chopped figs over medium-low heat but do NOT bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. The the milk will soften the figs.

In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs one minute on high. Reduce speed to low and add butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture. Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Beat until just blended.

Pour the mix into the greased bundt pan. Level top as much as possible. Cover the mold with a piece of aluminum foil greased on one side, greased side down. Place the mold in a roasting pan and place on oven rack. fill with hot tap water 2 inches up the side of the mold. Bake for 2 hours or until the pudding is firm and it is pulling away from the side of the bundt pan.

Remove the pudding from the water bath. Remove the foil and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. Invert bundt pan onto a serving plate and remove mold. It should come away easily.

Serve with a hard sauce.

Yes you can have a family Yule celebration and still have a holiday tree, and hang stockings with care by the fire.

During the Roman festival of Saturnalia, celebrants often decorated their homes with clippings of shrubs, and hung metal ornaments outside on trees. Typically, the ornaments represented a god — either Saturn, or the family’s patron deity. The laurel wreath was a popular decoration as well. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have evergreen trees, but they had palms — and the palm tree was the symbol of resurrection and rebirth. They often brought the fronds into their homes during the time of the winter solstice.

Early Germanic tribes decorated trees with fruit and candles in honour of Odin for the solstice. These are the folks who brought us the words Yule and wassail, as well as the tradition of the Yule Log!

In other words, if you want to have a decorated tree for the holiday, don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t have Pagan origins. And if you’d like to go for a more authentic pagan look, there are a ton of other things out there you can use.

Here are some ideas:

  • Suns and solar ornaments – raid the craft stores and find stars to turn into suns
  • Gods Eyes – make then out of cinnamon sticks and seasonal coloured yarn or ribbons
  • Pentacles – make them out of shiny chenille stems, bent into stars with circles around them
  • Natural objects like acorns, feathers, holly, mistletoe or pine cones
  • Lights, lights, and more lights
  • Magical items – cups, wands, or daggers
  • Fertility symbols – eggs, antlers, horns

On the winter solstice, on the longest night of the year, people would place and set afire an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room! The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year’s log which had been carefully stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas.

It was considered important that the re-lighting process was carried out by someone with clean hands.

Tradition has it that the burning of the Yule log was performed to honor the Great Mother Goddess. The log would be lit on the eve of the solstice using the remains of the log from the previous year and would be burned for twelve hours for good luck and protection.

As the fire began all other lights would be extinguished and the people would gather round the fire. In thanksgiving and appreciation for the events of the past year and in bidding the year farewell each person would toss dried holly twigs into the fire.

The next phase of the burning of the Yule log commenced with people tossing oak twigs and acorns into the fire and they would shout out their hopes and resolutions for the coming New Year and sing Yuletide carols. The celebration of the Yule log fire ended with unburned pieces of the Yule log saved to start the fire of next winter’s solstice Yule log.

The custom of the Yule Log spread all over Europe and different kids of wood are used in different countries. In England, Oak is traditional. The “mighty oak” was the most sacred tree of Europe, representing the waxing sun, symbolized endurance, strength, protection, and good luck to people in the coming year. In Scotland, it is Birch; while in France, it’s Cherry. Also, in France, the log is sprinkled with wine, before it is burnt, so that it smells nice when it is lit.

The earliest Yule Log in France can be traced back to Celtic Brittany. When the Catholic Church stamped out the Pagan tradition, it adapted. In the 12th century, the ceremony became more elaborate.

Families would haul home enormous logs and in some regions, the youngest child was allowed to ride the log home. As families dragged their logs home, passers by would raise their hats because they knew the log was full of good promises and its flame would burn out old wrongs.

For the Vikings, the yule log was an integral part of their celebration of the solstice, the julfest; on the log, they would carve runes representing unwanted traits (such as ill fortune or poor honor) that they wanted the gods to take from them.

People would also use the log as a way to predict events in the upcoming year. They would hit the burning log with tongs and the embers emitted would tell them what the harvest would be like. The more embers, the more corn. The fire was read and predictions were made for the coming year based on the sparks and flames they saw, like how many chickens or calves would be born, marriages in the family, health, wealth, etc. If the fire cast shadows on the wall, there would be a death in the family that year.

The remaining cinders would be placed in the soil so they would prevent grain diseases and produce a good harvest. They’d be spread around chicken coops to keep away foxes and in the barns and lofts where corn was stored to keep rats and weevils away. During a storm, throwing a handful into the fire would keep the house safe from lightening.

The ashes of the Yule Log were believed to hold magical and medicinal powers that would ward off evil spirits for the coming year. Ashes from the Yule log are very beneficial to garden plants, however, it is considered very unlucky to throw out the ashes of the Yule log on Christmas day.

Various chemicals can be sprinkled on the log like wine to make the log burn with different colored flames! Here’s a short list. Be sure to follow safety precautions if you plan on using them!!

  • Potassium Nitrate = Violet
  • Barium Nitrate = Apple Green
  • Borax = Vivid Green
  • Copper Sulphate = Blue
  • Table Salt = Bright Yellow

“Welcome everything! Welcome all alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your places around the Christmas fire, where what is sits.”
~Charles Dickens

The wassail—a centuries old tradition from Great Britain—is a joy-filled party celebrating the Winter Solstice, Christmastime and happy tidings. Indeed, many of the traditions of this likeable event are the originators of well-known seasonal classics (like caroling, for one).

The word wassail itself comes from the old Norse “ves heill,” which literally means “be healthy.” It is a toast of goodwill and is at the heart of what wassailing is all about.

These days a wassail is a party, but, in centuries past wassailing mainly involved people singing carols from door-to-door, such as “Here We Come a Wassailing” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Sound familiar? The carolers would carry a bowl of wassail, which was a hot mulled wine or some kind of warm, apple-based beverage. Often people floated a piece of toasted bread on top of the steaming wassail, which was the origin of our modern-day expression “I would like to propose a toast.”

When carolers entered a home they would sing, share the wassail and receive eats and drinks themselves (such as plum pudding or shepherd’s pie), at which time toasts for a merry Christmas and happy tidings for a new year would be exchanged by all.

One legend about how Wassailing was created, says that a beautiful Saxon maiden named Rowena presented Prince Vortigen with a bowl of wine while toasting him with the words ‘waes hael‘. Over the centuries, a great deal of ceremony developed around the custom of drinking wassail. The bowl was carried into a room with a great fanfare, a traditional carol about the drink was sung, and finally, the steaming hot beverage was served.

Today, wassails are still held in homes or as public celebrations in many countries throughout the world, such as Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. The celebrations can be as simple as gathering some friends for hot cider to more elaborate celebrations involving the production of short plays (called mummer plays) or caroling through apple orchards.

To host your own wassail:

  • Invite friends and family to share the occasion.
  • Dress up the house for a festive holiday occasion.
  • Serve a warm beverage, such as spiced apple cider, mulled wine or the like, from a bowl. This is a must! Otherwise, it’s not really a wassail.
  • Serve food that’s warm and hearty, like beef pot pie or warm potato wedges with bacon, cheese and sour cream toppings. Christmas pudding or any kind of spice cake or pound cake should do nicely for dessert.
  • Play festive Christmas music in the background. (Or, better yet, sing along with carols if so inclined.)
  • Partake in games that involve teams of players, like charades, Cranium, Pictionary or Taboo.

The object is simply to have a good time and share the joy of the season!

One of the most popular Wassailing Carols:

A Wassail Bowl
Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing,
So fair to be seen:

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you,
A happy New Year,
And God send you,
A happy new year.

source

“It’s like New Year’s Day for the dead.” That’s how Sherly Turenne sums up the celebration for Ghede spirits, led by Baron Samedi, god of death in Haiti’s Vodun tradition.

He is anticipated with happiness as the protector of children, provider of wise advice and the last best hope for the seriously ill. Celebrated on Nov. 2, along with the Catholic All Souls’ Day, Ghede (GEH-day) is also a day to remember and honor ancestors.

All boons granted by the Ghede must be repaid by this date or they will take their vengeance on you.

About the Ghede:

With a population of 8.5 million, Haiti is 90 percent Catholic and 100 percent Vodun (VOH-doon), a religion that accommodated the practices and principles of captives from Dahomey, Yorubaland, Congo and Angola who were brought to the island during the African slave trade.

The Dahomey/Yoruba term can refer both to the verb gede, to cut through, and igede, incantation, hinting at cutting through to mystery, in this case the mystery of death. Because the Africans combined the elements of their various geographical regions, there came to be in Haiti many Ghedes, several Barons and a creole term referring to a formal god, all referring to the dead and death itself.

Ghedes are part of the pantheon of gods known as Loa (Loh-WAH). Ghede then, as the ruler of death and embodying also the principle of resurrection, governs the preservation and renewal of life. He is sometimes also referred to with affection as Papa Ghede.

The Celebration:

People will put on their Sunday best, and go to church first thing in the morning to pray.

Then they will go home and put on the regalia of the ragtag Ghedes, as the spirits of the underworld are often called, or the elegant Baron Samedi (SAHM-dee) in his black, white and purple color scheme. An outfit can be as simple as a white blouse and skirt and purple neck scarf or can include a black top hat and tails, a baton or cane, a red bandanna or multicolored necklaces.

It is also common to wear makeup – painting half the face white with black around the eyes or even just dusting the face with flour. Once dressed, celebrants go to the town cemetery, where those who have ancestors there will clean the tombs of their loved ones and leave food for them in remembrance.

The spiritual adepts, the women called mambos and the men called houngans (HONE-gahn), joined by drummers and singers, will pray at a cross rising from a tomb, the symbol of Baron Samedi, summoning the spirits. And then the partying begins.

The seeming contradiction may be difficult for Americans to comprehend. The god of death, Baron Samedi nevertheless pokes fun at death and with his raunchy humor and suggestive, lewd dancing makes fun of the human passion that brings life.

A typical altar in honor of Ghede would include cigarettes; clarin, a Haitian white rum spiced with habanero peppers; a small white image of a skull; white, black and purple candles; satin fabric in the same colors; crosses; a miniature coffin; sequined bottles and a chromolithograph of St. Gerard, a saint associated with Baron Samedi. No altar would be complete without the requisite top hat and cane.

Preparing a feast

Oakland dance instructor Portsha Jefferson, whose great-grandmother was Haitian, has been celebrating the holiday for years, both at home and as part of a public gathering. She will prepare a veritable feast for her ancestors, including greens, yams, macaroni and cheese, corn bread, red beans and rice, cabbage, baked chicken and fried snapper, with sweet potato pie for their dessert.

She will begin her day by pouring a libation and offering a prayer in thanks and ask for their blessing. Her altar for Ghede will be refreshed with clarin and set with a vase of fresh flowers and a new white candle. Then she’ll pack up her scandalous Ghede outfit, a black gown with silver and purple sequins that is slit on each side to midthigh, borrow the Baron’s top hat and go to the community celebration, which she has been planning with partner Lee Hetelson.

It was started by the Petit la Croix dance company’s Blanche Brown, who taught Haitian dance in the Bay Area for decades; Jefferson, who took it over in 2003, sends out an e-mail to adepts and dancers asking for volunteers.

“I have people set up on the day-of – decorations, constructing the altar, food preparation, hiring musicians, graphic designers for flyers, administrators for marketing,” she said.

Community celebration

Many community celebrations feature special performances, costume contests, dancing and dance workshops, along with the opportunity to have fun. A Ghede feast is a chance for drummers to play and dancers to dance. It has become really popular, with people wearing Ghede’s clothes.

The party also seems to have a spiritual impact on participants. “I’ve been surprised to hear that people – after dancing- it would lighten up their spirit or help them get through whatever problem they were having at the time.”

In Haiti, preparations had been go on for weeks. At traditional worship sites, called hounfours (HOWN-for), devotees prepare the altar with drapo (flags or cloth) in black, white and purple, lay out Ghede’s attire, and soak habanero peppers in vinegar or water to later be added to clarin for the drink few but the Ghedes can bear to swallow.

The food placed around the altar is very important. It is also important that all the things for other gods are put away. This is to make sure that all of The Baron’s needs are there for when he comes.

Spiritual revellers wear white face paint and drink spicy rum during the two day festival. Devotees can be seen eating glass, carrying dead goats, and drinking from bottles of rum infused with fiery peppers at the spiritual bash.

The Haitians head to a sprawling cemetery in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince, where voodoo priests and priestesses gather around what is thought to be the nation’s oldest grave.

A man dressed as a “Gede”, or spirit of voodoo, greets people as they enter the cemetery

They then light candles and start small fires to recall the spirit of Baron Samedi the guardian of the dead.

The Day of the Dead festival takes place on November 1 and November 2, when voodoo followers remember relatives who have passed away and asks spirits to grant them favours or offer them advice.

Vendors set up in the cemetery and sell things such as rum, candles and rosary beads.

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