21 Dec 2015

A 'LEGENDARY' WINTER SOLSTICE.

After the popularity of this post on Belsnickel, today, the eve of the Winter Solstice, I thought I'd bring you the legend that is ....

See if you can guess?
  • A spirit of the woods, a protector of agriculture, honoured as the sacred embodiment of the earth itself 
  • A deity of the hearth and home, of fertility and rebirth 
  • Associated with both the evergreens of Yule, the holly and the mistletoe, as well as the winter snow.
  • They are known to give gifts to women at the time of the Winter Solstice
  • Often thought of as a toothless old hagIn one fairytale as an old woman who rewards a hard working young girl with gold, her equally lazy sister with a large kettle of pitch poured over her head
Thought to have derived from the Scandinavian being known as the huldra, the festival of Frau Holda (aka Frau Holle) is celebrated in the midst of winter. 

Considered to have ridden with witches, to have travelled through the skies to attend great feasts. As early as the beginning of the eleventh century she was known as one of those women capable of ...

 'going out through closed doors in the silence of the night, leaving their sleeping husbands behind'.

You know my favourite thing about Frau Holle though?

No, not that the Brothers Grimm saw fit to include her story (read it herein a book , Kinder-und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales), though that is kind of wonderful, BUT that the falling snowflakes are said to be her shaking their feathery pillow.


13 comments:

Kelly said...

This was a new legend for me. I like that thought about the snowflakes, too! (not that I often see any)

Tracy Terry said...

A while since we have had a White Christmas Kelly. Though it did snow briefly earlier in the month it was too wet to lie and we haven't had any since.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

What an interesting legend. I don't believe I've heard of this one before. :)

Trac~ said...

I've never heard of this one before but love the "falling snowflakes" from shaking her feathery pillow. :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Love legend stories. I do think pitch is a bit much of a punishment though. :)

Sandra Cox said...

What a perfect post for the season:)

Gingi Freeman said...

This is the coolest blog post series.. you need to make sure you archive these for easy reference!! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Literary Feline said...

I love this story. I hadn't heard it before. I haven't seen too much snow on the mountain tops in the distance this winter. I hope they get some soon.

Suko said...

Tracy,I also like the idea that falling snowflakes are said to be her shaking their feathery pillow. Thanks for a wonderful post about this legend.

Brian Joseph said...

I never heard of Frau Holda before. It sounds like another very interesting legend.

Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Ellis said...

I've heard this legend. My kids and I always feed the animals on the Winter Solstice. We take pinecones and spread peanut butter on them. Then we sprinkle seeds on the peanut butter. We put them outside for the squirrels and birds to find.

I received your Christmas card. Thank you so much! I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

The Bookworm said...

I hadn't heard of this one. I like the take on the falling snowflakes though.

Gina R said...

New to me and what a lovely image! *pictures snowflakes...because the temps it is here there is NO chance of them actually falling*