Welcome to Hrethmonath

Today is the first day of Hrethmonath in my Anglo-Saxon, or Old English, Calendar. It’s the third month of the year and the last month of Winter. It is also roughly equivalent to the astrological period of the sign of Pisces.

The days are getting noticeably longer now as sunset is, in my part of the world, now approaching 6pm, and sunrise is around 7:30am. Next stop is the Easter Month and the coming of Spring.

Timey, 1 Hrethmonath / 8 Naghaid

New Moon 12/02/2021

Hi all. The new lunar month of Naghaid begins today. It is the fourth month of the Celtic calendar and the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, hence Chinese new year. This begins the Year of the Ox in the Chinese astrological system.

It also coincides with the Islamic month of Rajab, the Hebrew month of Adar and the Hindu month of Magha. It is also the Old English month of Lenten Moon, marking the beginning of Lent, although in the solar calendar Ash Wednesday does not take place until next Wednesday, the 17th of An Gearran/February.

This will be a 30-day month in my calendar, and it will therefore run until 13th March (Am Màrt). As this is the fourth month, today marks the “movable feast” version of Là Fhèill Brìghde, or St. Brigit’s Festival, marking the traditional beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, the weather in this part of the world is not very spring-like, as there is still much snow on the ground with more to come in the next few days.

You can download the latest calendar at the link below.

Timey, 1 Naghaid 3047/24 Solmonath 1577

Six More Weeks of Winter

So, it seems that Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow and therefore it is predicted that there will be six more weeks of winter. It certainly seems to be the case, although the snow we have had so far has been very wet and is not collecting at all. It’s supposed to get worse in the next few days though.

Today is High Winter, which marks the point at which the sun is at 15 degrees of Aquarius, or half way between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. It marks the time when the days are getting noticeably longer, even if the weather is still decidedly wintry.

15 Solmonath 1577 / 21 Riùr 3047

Spring is in the air

We are now into February and traditionally this marks the time when the season of spring is around the corner.

The 1st is St Brigit’s Day, the Gaelic festival of Là Fhèill Brìghde, or Imbolc. Linked to this is the Christian holy day of Candlemas, which takes place on the 2nd of February. And also on that day, the North American tradition of Groundhog Day takes place.

Groundhog Day is marked in the town of Punxsatawney in Pennsylvania with a ceremony involving a groundhog called Punxsatawney Phil. According to Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, if the groundhog emerges from his burrow and sees his shadow due to clear weather, he will retreat to his den and six weeks of winter will follow, but if he does not see his shadow due to cloudy weather then spring will arrive early.

In Chinese culture, the solar fortnight Rise of Spring, begins around the 3rd of February. This is important as the new year of the Chinese lunar calendar will occur at new moon following the lunar month that includes that date. This year it will take place on 12th February and will mark the beginning of the Year of the Ox.

In this part of the world, it appears that we have much more wintry weather to come in the days ahead, suggesting that, if Punxsatawney Phil were to emerge from his burrow here, he would see his shadow and retreat to his den and thus leave us with six more weeks of winter. Of course, he will be in America, but it will be interesting as always to see how the ceremony goes tomorrow.

In the meantime, while it seems that better weather is not yet on the horizon, the days are getting longer and there is the hint of better days to come. We can only hope that as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, we will be able to relax the current restrictions on our daily lives, and look forward with some hope to the rest of the year.