Holy Tides

Wednesbury Shire celebrates three High Holy tides and numerous lesser ones. We know there were three High Holy Tides from the Heimskringla. Snorri states:

þâ skyldi blôta î môti vetri til ârs, enn at miðjum vetri blôta til grôðrar, it þriðja at sumri, þat var sigrblôt

"On winter day there should be blood-sacrifice for a good year, and in the middle of winter for a good crop; and the third sacrifice should be on summer day, for victory in battle." (Ynglinga Saga Chapter 8)

This is further confirmed by the meeting dates of the Anglo-Saxon witans which met most often on St. Martin’s Day (November 10th), Christmas, and Easter or Whitsunday (Liberman, The National Assembly in the Anglo-Saxon Period). The Anglo-Saxon kings further wore their crowns on these dates (Chaney, Cult of Anglo-Saxon Kingship, p. 65). In modern parlence, these dates are called Winterfylleth or Winter Nights, Yule, and Eostre. We know from Bede there may have been lesser holy tides. Bede mentions Solmonað, roughly our February as a time when the Anglo-Saxons offered cakes to their Gods. He also mentions Hreðmonað, when the Goddess Hreðe was honored. He does not name Liða, but as it fall on Midsummer opposite Yule, there must have been some celebration then. Bede then mentions Háligmonaþ, roughly our September which means in modern English "holy month." FInally, he mentions Blótmonað, roughly our November, which means "sacrifice month," and may have been when the excess cattle were slaughtered for the winter. Added to these are modern celebrations such as Harvest and Penda Day (the day the last great Anglo-Saxon Heathen king died in battle).



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Holy Tides

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