Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oak-observing "official"...

Today - or more precisely this evening after sundown - is Halloween, which begins what is for many one of the holiest times of the year: also known as All Hallow's Eve, it leads into All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation in turn leading into All Souls Day / Day of the Dead / el Dia de Los Muertos / Dia dos Fieis Defuntos (Brazil and Portugal).

Today is also Samhain Eve, the first day of Samhain, a pagan festival meaning 'end of summer' (or assembly/gathering depending on what etymology is used) and is dedicated to the harvest and ancestors and Death; it is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of their 'greater Sabbats' (Wiccan Wheel of the Year).

Today, Druids can mark the festival with added spirit because it's the first Samhain after becoming a recognised official religion: "Earlier this month, the Charities Commission ruled that the Druid Network should have the same status as other faiths such as Christianity and Islam" (how many centuries/millennia late?).

Druid..."Based on all available forms, the hypothetical proto-Celtic word may then be reconstructed as *dru-wid-s (pl. *druwides) meaning "oak-knower". The two elements go back to the Proto-Indo-European roots *deru- and *weid- "to see". The sense of "oak-knower" (or "oak-seer") is confirmed by Pliny the Elder" [Wiki].

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