Today we’re looking at the “American wheel of the year” and at developing your own magical calendar.
Download: Episode 44 – American Holidays
Our two main sources are the article “The Eight Great American Sabbats,” by Jason Mankey (at Patheos.com) and Jack Santino’s book All Around the Year.
Some other neat holiday-centered items:
- R. Burns “Halloween” poem
- Arlo Guthrie, “Alice’s Restaurant” (a main tradition for Cory’s Thanksgiving)
- Leprechaun lore from the Yeats/Gregory collection Fairy & Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry
- A little bit on the connection between Paganism & Easter from religioustolerance.org
- The Wikipedia article on Dia de Muertos
- A fun recipe for the Ossa di Morti cookies Cory mentions
Also check out the Holidays page at New World Witchery to explore this topic further, including episodes on Groundhog Day, Walpurgisnacht, and St. John’s Eve.
Cory will have a horror story about rabbits (of course) coming out through Misanthrope Press and their magazine Title Goes Here in the Fall (that’s sort of Halloween and Easter, right?).
And definitely check out all the details on Pagan Podkin Super Moot no. 3, happening in San Francisco on Oct. 6th!
Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter!
Promos & Music
Title music: “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues. From Magnatune.
Promo 1 – Eat My Pagan A$$ Podcast
Promo 2 – HP Lovecraft Live Podcast
Promo 3 – Iron Powoqa Radio
7 thoughts on “Podcast 44 – American Holidays”
I just wanted to thank you for putting up a great episode again!
I’m Canadian and Boxing Day, here, is basically all about the after-Christmas sales. It’s a statutory holiday in some provinces (Ontario and British Columbia, I believe), but here in Quebec, it’s business as usual, although we do get a shortened work day.
Canadian Thanskgiving always falls on the first Monday in October. I believe this is to reflect the fact that harvest season is shorter here than in the US. Also, the French Canadian population, again, especially in Quebec, is less enclined to celebrate it than the English-speaking population.
I just wanted to add that your blog and podcast have made me want to study the local folklore, Quebecois have their own folk tales and some folk magic practices, such as putting rosary beads on the clothesline to ensure clement weather for an important event like a wedding or christening, as well as local superstition, including stuff that I grew up believing and doing, without knowing where it came from.
I’d like a mixture in the blog of what you do and what others do, if you please. I think a mix would be good.
Hey guys, thanks for the shout out! Thanks for doing an episode on American holidays and good on you for finding such an interesting article. One trend that I have noticed since managing a beer and tobacco store is how beer sales factor into the American holiday system. The beer season for the summer officially begins on Memorial Day weekend and carries all the way through until Labor Day weekend. After Labor Day beer sales tend to drop off, with the exception of football game days, which of course in the south is quite a big thing. Beer sales also pick up again for Halloween and Thanksgiving and then die off again until the Christmas/new year holidays. The last big beer holiday is Super Bowl, then business is pretty slow until Memorial Day.
While it is true you cannot measure the importance of a holiday by the amount of booze that are available, celebrations do tend to lean heavily towards beer and alcohol sales, as it seems being inebriated goes hand-in-hand with having a good time.
I do agree with both of you about the summer holidays, as living in Mississippi I can tell you about heat and humidity. I tend to go through cold spells during the summer, usually barely observing any the holidays, though I am trying to get into a better practice about that. I prefer and tend to be more active during the fall through spring holidays in terms of workings and celebration.
Also, since I have been attending an Episcopal Church (you get to do a red meal every Sunday, so why not?) I have found the Saints very appealing to work with. As a consequence, I have been trying to celebrate the various saints days. I particularly like Candlemas, and the feast days of St. Nicholas and St. Anthony.
On the topic of Christmas Eve be a very big holiday for you Corey, have you read Charles Dickens “the goblins who stole a sexton?” it’s quite a witchy tale.
Anyway, while it is not focused on American holidays, I suggest everyone interested in holiday lore check out Ronald Hutton’s “Stations of the Sun.” The book is about the British wheel of the year, and is quite informative and interesting. Heads up though it is a scholarly work, so it is dry and pretty much a big information dump. I like it though :).
Keep up the good podcasting guys :).
O btw I got married this past May!
Cory, can you explain the significance of “Alice’s Restaurant” for Thanksgiving? It’s not a song I like very much, so maybe there’s a reference in it I’ve forgotten.
Great episode. You two are at your best when you’re just riffing on a topic you both love!
Hi Guys, Sandra Here from HPLovecraftLive. Thanks for playing the Promo. I’m a huge fan of your show and looking forward to hearing your next one. Keep up the amazing work 🙂
Wow, I’m flattered. I really enjoyed all of that! So weird to hear me called “Mr. Mankey” though, I’m used to either Jason or “hey you.”
Hi guys. I live in Norway and here (and I believe in Sweden as well) we celebrate St. Lucia’s day every year on December 13th. It’s most commonly celebrated in kindergartens and grade schools, where there will be s procession of children (usually girls) dressed in white, carrying candles and giving out lussekatter (a type of sweet bun with saffron) or other gingerbread cookies. Usually at least one of the girls also has a wreath with candles in her hair, like a crown.
If I remember correctly, it used to be celebrated closer to the solstice to bring in the light (the maiden brings in the light on the darkest day). But for some reason the date kept moving around and the celebration started earlier and earlier, so finally it was fixed on December 13th.
In Norway it’s always a sure sign that Christmas is right around the corner.
Another Norwegian fun-fact: christmas in Norwegian is called jul (pronounced yule).
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