Lesser Feasts and
Days of Remembrance
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Some Modern Heathens also celebrate the following. I have included them because Hammerstead occasionally celebrated a couple of them; plus people keep asking me (Jordsvin) about them:
These have long been a part of modern Asatru. I first saw them as a part of Steve McNallen's three-volume Blotbook; Rituals of Asatru, published by World Tree Publications. The historical events are real, but for the most part the dates of the celebrations were set in modern times. This particular version is adapted from "Rites and Ways of the Troth" on thetroth.org, with additions by Jordsvin. I put it here because it is not readily locatable on The Troth's site, and is in some places a bit unclear and incomplete. For more information on these celebrations, including a comparison between The Troth's Lesser Feasts and Days of Remembrance and the rather similar system developed by Steve McNallen for the old Asatru Free Assembly, see my article on Germanic Heroes.
There are a number of lesser feasts or holy days that Heathens of modern time keep, as well as holding the traditional ones. Most of these are "Days of Remembrance" for great heroes and heroines of Northern Heathenry; a few are modern holidays adapted for Heathen practice.
January 9 - Day of Remembrance for Raud the Strong
He was a Norwegian chieftain whom Olaf Tryggvason killed for refusing to convert. The end of a metal horn was put down Raud's throat; a poisonous snake was then put into the horn and the other end heated to drive it along...
February 9 - Day of Remembrance for Eyvind kinnrifi
Olaf Tryggvason tortured him to death when he refused to convert, by putting a metal brazier filled with burning coals on his belly). Steve McNallen: "A good day for reflecting on Christian kindness."
February 14 - Folk etymology has led to this day being called 'Feast of Vali' in modern Asatru.
Actually, St. Valentine has no demonstrable associations with Vali, nor to the thinly disguised Pagan Lupercalia rites which take place on this day. Nevertheless, many Heathens make blessing to this god at this time.
March 9 - Day of Remembrance for Olvir of Trondheim.
He was a farmer of noble birth and a leader in Trondheim, Norway. Olaf Tryggvasson <Jordsvin spits> murdered him for performing the Spring Sacrifices.
March 28 - Ragnar Lodbrok's Day, when we celebrate this famous Viking's sack of Paris.
Jordsvin loves to watch that old movie "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Ernest Borg-9 on this day! It was my first exposure to anything Heathen, around age 8, and amazingly I understood what was going on. Too bad I didn't see the light then! :-) I call this one "St. Ragnar Lodbrok's Day." Some say Ragnar did not exist, or that the historical Ragnar(s) was/were eclipsed by the legendary/heroic figure! So what? Pass the mead-horn anyway! PARTY!
April 9 - Day of Remembrance for Haakon Sigurdsson (Haakon the Great)
Hw was one of the Jarls of Hladhir, a great defender of Heathenism in Norway during the brutal period of conversion.
May 9 - Day of Remembrance for Gudrod of Gudbrandsdal
His tongue was cut out by the Norwegian king 'St. Olaf' (not to be confused with Olaf Tryggvason despite the similarity of names and methods. St. Olaf, otherwise known as 'Olaf the Fat' or 'Olaf the Big-Mouthed', was canonized for his efforts to convert Norway by slaughter and torture).
Memorial Day - Celebrated as 'Einherjar Day'
When the fallen heroes in Valhall are remembered. Note from Jordsvin: Hammerstead celebrated Einherjar Night in November, to coincide with (US) Veterans' Day.
June 9 - Day of Remembrance for Sigurd the Dragonslayer
He is known in German versions of the story as Siegfried.
July 9 - Day of Remembrance for Unn or Aud the Deep-Minded
She was a woman who was one of the great chieftains of the Icelandic settlement. A Christian, but who cares?
July 29 - death-date of Olaf the Fat.
Ring the Dinner-Bell for Nidhogg!
August 9 - Day of Remembrance for King Radbod of Frisia.
Standing at the baptismal font, he changed his mind and refused conversion when told that his place in the christian Heaven would mean his separation from the souls of his ancestors.
September 9 - Day of Remembrance for Hermann the Cheruscan
He was the embodiment of German freedom, who kept Germany from being over-run by the Romans and suffering destruction of their culture and language such as was experienced by occupied Celtic Gaul.
October 28 - Day of Remembrance for Erik the Red
The founder of the Norse settlements of Greenland, who refused baptism and was sexually shunned by his wife as a result.
Columbus Day - Day of Remembrance for Leif Eriksson and his sister Freydis Eriksdottir
They were leaders of the earliest European settlement in America. He was a Christian convert, but a Hel of a Viking anyway!
November 9 - Day of Remembrance for Queen Sigrid of Sweden.
Wooed by Olaf Tryggvason, the relationship ended sharply when she told him that she had no intention of leaving the gods of her fathers and he slapped her across the face. She was the chief arranger of the alliance that brought him down.
Thanksgiving - Weyland Smith's Day
This celebrates the greatest of Germanic craftsmen. Often regarded as an Elf or even a God.
December 9 - Day of Remembrance for Egill Skallagrimsson
He was a great Viking Age poet, warrior, and rune-magician. Very much a Heathen "Renaissance Man." Hammerstead Kindred celebrated this one, "St. Egil's Day" by telling Egil's story and writing poetry. WWED: "What would Egil do?" Somebody ought to make some bracelets with THAT on them!
last modified 04/18/2004