With the year drawing to a close it seemed apt to finish off our series on the festivals, and so in good time for the solstice and Hogmanay, Gaol Naofa has released two new videos (conveniently dealing with the solstice and Hogmanay respectively), which complete the festival year in the Gaelic calendar.
Considering the fact that a number of the festivals we've covered aren't Gaelic or pre-Christian in origin, it's no surprise to find that not every Gaelic Polytheist celebrates every single one. Each of them is significant in some way, when considered as being part of the bigger picture, as part of the continuum, but that doesn't necessarily mean all of them mean something to us on a personal, individual level. In the case of this particular festive period, I tend to pay more mind to Hogmanay than the solstice itself, because of the fact that it's a huge deal here in Scotland. Though with the kids finishing school today, and Mr Seren being on holiday as well, we'll inevitably end up having a whole festive thing, of sorts, until they get back to school come January...
Kathryn has a great post over on her blog that goes into some details about the traditions surrounding Hogmanay, and the Hogmanay video itself gives some details as well as a bit of context and history:
The music is by Clanadonia, who are good friends of my husband, so please support them! (This particular song is used in the first episode of Outlander, and at least one of the band members is in it as an extra. Just so you know...).
Anyway. Our video on the solstice has an overview of the origins and influences of the celebrations, and some things that you can do if you want to:
As Kathryn noted, I've used some of the photos I took during my visit to Ireland earlier this year (although I can assure you, the really good ones like the preview pic above aren't mine!).
Here, at home, we might indulge somewhat in a squidgy chocolate Yule log over the next few days (a family tradition I grew up with), and then there will be the usual cleaning and tidying - redding the house for the new year - and the lighting of many candles, which will fall to Rosie as her duty. The old year will be swept out, and the new year welcomed in, and then house will be sained, along with all of us in it. There will probably be the usual steak pie on New Years' Day at the in-laws (as is traditional in these parts), so we'll do some baking so we can take something with us as a gift. Tom loves baking, so he can take point on that. And we have a new puppy! So there will be a good opportunity to brave a trip to the beach and some other spots around the village so we can make some offerings and collect some water from the dead and living ford (there's one not far from here). All in all, there's plenty of things for us to be doing.
As always, I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I've enjoyed making them. While these two videos finish off our series on the festivals - thirteen videos in total - we intend to carry on with more, tackling some other topics in due course. We've had some requests for videos that people would like to see, and any more ideas are very welcome.