Friday, May 5, 2023

Walpurgis Night

Walpurgisnacht, (or "Walpurgis Night") is a holiday celebrated in Germany and Scandinavia on April 30, the eve of Mayday. 

Albert Zimmermann “Walpurgisnacht”, 1866

In German folklore, it is believed to be the night when nature spirits meet on the Brocken mountain and hold fantastic festivals outside the reach of the Church. 

The holiday is celebrated with singing traditional spring folk songs, lighting bonfires, dressing in costumes, playing pranks on people, making loud noises to keep evil at bay, hanging sprigs of foliage on houses to ward off malevolent spirits, or leaving pieces of bread spread with butter and honey as offerings for phantom hounds.

All these occult revelries have captured the imagination of great artists, philosophers, and composers, such as the Goethe and Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn's secular cantata describes the attempts of Druids in the mountains to practice their pagan rituals in the face of new and dominating religious forces.


Lynnwood said...

I enjoyed that so much, James!!I love Felix Mendelssohn but had never heard that before.That middle part in the "fast march" tempo reminded me of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" :)))

אורן said...