Spring has officially arrived, the days are getting longer with lighter mornings and evenings. The coming of Spring was celebrated and observed by different cultures with different festivals all over the ancient world. How our ancient forefathers must have relished these events.
The Druids celebrated Spring on the 1st May with the Beltane ceremony, bringing many people together to acknowledge and revel in the birth of the Summer and the fertility of the land. The festival commemorates the spirit of our ancient forebears and the connection to the cycles of nature.
The Chinese with their Spring Festival that falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month, which is often one month later than the Gregorian calendar. It originated in the Shang Dynasty (c.1600 BC - c.1100 BC) from the people's sacrifices to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.
The Greeks held a festival in which they performed the tragedies of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in Athens which was known as the Great Dionysia. This festival was also connected with the spring.
In ancient Egypt they held a festival to Isis who represented rebirth having being instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after gathering the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set.
In Ireland, St Patrick's Day on the 17th March, was their special day. St Patrick being most famous for banishing all snakes from Ireland for evermore. He also brought Christianity to Ireland.
In ancient Italy the feast of Cyble was the time when they commemorated spring. The festival of Hilaria from 15th - 28th March celebrates rebirth after the legend in which her lover Attis was reborn after killing himself and it was in his blood that the first violets grew.
The Judaic festival is Passover in the Hebrew month of Nisan and celebrates the exodus of slaves from Egypt after suffering slavery for many years. This ritual is represented in a ceremonial cleaning of the house from top to bottom.
In Lanark, Scotland welcomes in the Spring season on the 1st March with Whuppity Scoorie in which children have a wonderful time running to a local church at sunrise, tossing paper balls and wearing hats. They are rewarded with money given by the local assemblymen.
Finally in Russia, close to Easter, again they celebrate rebirth in the coming of light and warmth in the celebration of Maslenitsa in which they enjoy their last meals of meat, fish and dairy prior to the Lent period. A straw likeness of the Lady of Maslenitsa is burned and to insure fertility, the ashes are spread in the fields.
More Good News
As usual I will be taking two crop circle tours this summer. The first is on Thursday 28th July with an optional extra of a private entry visit to Stonehenge in the evening. This will enable us to enter into the inner sanctum of the stones. It is a mystically wonderful experience to see the sun set over the stones and feel the magic of this ancient place. The tickets are like gold dust to obtain. Please book early.
The second tour is on Wednesday 3rd August and this has an optional extra of flying over the circles, which is an incredible way of seeing them in all their majesty from the air, together with the surrounding countryside that includes the famous stone complex at Avebury, and the sacred Silbury Hill, the largest man-made hill in Europe. Please get in touch for early booking.
Still more Good News
I am also reducing the price of my wonderful 2016 calendar from £12 to £10. I have a few left.
All very best wishes,