There was an article in local post about how one ought to not follow the traditional farmer’s calendar, because the holidays are way off and how we should embrace the true Christian way of holding dear only the most important dates throughout the year.
I will skip the part that it was Christian, who wrote this, and by the looks of it, I would not think very highly of him, because if he would have taken closer look at the systems he is so hardheartedly bashing about, he’d see that they are actually created by Christians. If he’d study even a little bit of history of calendars, he’d see that those holidays were put there by Christians to take over the local traditions splattered around and create some kind of system that would unify their systems so the holidays could be held in general in the same time. And of course, pay taxes in the right time. To call such gallant work by Christians now pagan and evil is just beyond me.
Leaving this aside, the holidays themselves.
I know there has been a lot of calls also among pagans to skip the Christian holidays, because they are presented as something evil and off the astrological dates. Agreed, they don’t fall together so well with astrological dates and that’s because they don’t need them to be 100 percent accurate in that matter.
However, those calls to toss those holidays aside just because they are related with Christianity now is also a bit foolish in my opinion. Especially as, in reality, I wouldn’t say the general pagan solstices and equinoxes don’t quite follow the pattern of the weather either, especially as they are not based on farmer’s calendar (which is still widely used in these parts) and is actually astrological calendar. To me this means that although the Ostara can be around 21st of March, but all that it represents doesn’t actually fall in line with the weather outside. I’m sure I’ve said somewhere earlier that this is the reason why I like to mix the holidays up. That in witchy work, I keep in mind the astrological dates, but as spring symbols and such I do celebrate the holidays with the rest of the nation. Oh yes, I know how evil that sounds for the purehearted.
I have very good reason for it. I already mentioned that the Christian calendar was brought in action, when there became a need for more steadier calendar system that each family celebrating things in their own time. Estonian national belief system presents the week counting. It was called Lugunädalad, an oral way to remember when some holiday would come and also which time was for which work in farm.
The weeks went like this (or in similar ways depending on the place, it varied a bit):
From Yule it went 6 weeks to Candlemass
From Candlemass 7 weeks to Mary’s Day (25th of March)
From Mary’s Day 4 weeks to St. George’s Day (23rd of April)
From St. George’s Day 9 weeks to Midsummer’s Eve
From Midsummer’s Eve four to St. Jacob’s Day (25th of July)
From St. Jacob’s Day 2 to Bartolomeus Day (24th of August)
From Bartolomeus Day 5 weeks to St. Michael’s Day (29th of September)
From St. Michael’s Day 6 weeks to St. Martin’s Day (10th of November)
From St. Martin’s Day two to St. Cathrin’s Day (25th of November)
From St. Cathrin’s Day 4 weeks to Yule.
As you can see, it is a bit different than would be the world wide known Pagan holidays. Yet, if you put them next to each other, then you see that most of the holidays match. What won’t match is the autumn calendar and that for the good reason that we are, after all, in north.
It is treated as treacherous in some traditions to vary from the astrological dates. Well, as lovely as they are, but as with everything – the cultural, astrological and all that can be fun in general, but the reality is – I will never start following the same calendar that they follow in Italy for example for the pure reason that it doesn’t match up. And as astrologically correct as the pagan calendar is, it is rather pointless to start celebrating chicken blooming in egg laying if the chicken will give you grimaces if you open their roost, whining “Are you kidding me? It’s cold out there! I ain’t movin’ from me fluffy warm place!”
Everything is relative. Even calendars. If leaving the astrological accuracy aside, it should still follow the nature outside rather than forcing the nature within you and outside to follow human foolishness and need for rhythm in their life. That’s why the old folk read the calendar in weeks – it didn’t have exact dates, but weeks. You looked for the signs outside and decided that this was the best time to celebrate chicken laying eggs or sheep giving birth. Sometimes it came few days earlier, in other cases a week later.