We’ve received so many questions over the last few days about our holidays. Thank you so much and we’re happy to answer them.
You might notice that they look very different from American Asatru holidays. We assure you, we haven’t lost our minds.
Forn Sidr of America is a modern denomination of Scandinavian-American Forn Sidr. While American Asatru mingles practices from across a wide variety of regions and countries such as Icelandic, Germanic, Scandinavian, Baltic, and even Slavic, we’ve chosen to focus upon the traditions that have been brought to the Americas from Scandinavian (mostly Danish and Swedish) immigrants to influence many of our American traditions today.
So let’s tackle some of the questions we’ve received:
Why not use the Wheel of the Year that is commonly used by American Asatru?
The easiest answer is that we’re not Asatru. We aren’t in any way attached to the lineage that began with Else Christensen and Stephen McNallen that seeded American Asatru as we know it today. Think of it like the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism; both are from the religion of Christianity, but there are various denominations. We are a denomination of Norse Paganism called Forn Sidr which has been shaped by our experiences on the American continents.
Where is __ holiday?
Yes, we are aware that there are well-known Asatru and other Heathen Holidays that aren’t there. We’re not Asatru, but we also have an issue of regionalism and anachronism.
If we tried to celebrate every holiday across all of the regions that Heathenry was observed, we’d end up with over 2 dozen unique holidays with conflicting dates. Thankfully, we aren’t trying to be historical reconstructionists. Instead, we’re uniting our American-Scandinavian traditions that have evolved organically with the current practices and beliefs of Scandinavian Heathens. This religion is living, and it is alive and well across the pond.
For this reason, we celebrate most of the holidays that Sweden and Denmark observe, as well as American-Scandinavian holidays.
Is this a Wicca Wheel of the Year?
Nope, if you’ll notice our dates don’t match up with Wicca or American Asatru sabbats. We have blots and feasts that align with secular holidays and American Pagan traditions. The names we chose for our dates are also rather secular in nature allowing the practitioner to choose which traditions they want to observe on those dates. A person could choose to observer Germanic Ostara traditions on Spring Blot and someone else can choose to observe traditions from Vårblot in Sweden; the name is descriptive and inclusive of both.
Where is dísablót / álfablót / winternights?
These holidays are a great example of how different regional practices can have conflicting dates and celebrations.
Disablot is observed by TAC on Jan 31st, by The Troth in late Feb to early March, and by Forn Sed Sverige “sometime in February”. And scholars in this article by Huggin’s Heathen Hof suggest that it was historically celebrated around Feb 21st, but there are no sources given and the writer doesn’t discuss which country/region he’s discussing.
Alfablot, according to Forn Sed Sverige, is held towards the end of October. American Heathen organizations pretty much leave out Alfablot altogether and replace it with Winternights, a German equivalent that was introduced to the American Asatru calendar initially by the AFA.
As you can see, there is very little unification on what is celebrated and when in American Asatru. And as we’re not Asatru, FSOA has named these 3 holidays simply Hel’s Feast as it is a feast to honor the dead and those in the otherworlds. If a practitioner wanted to observe traditions specific to Disablot, Winternights, or Alfablot during this time, the name is still inclusive of those traditions. If a reconstructionist wanted to try to place them when specific regional predecessors might have observed them, they can do that too.
Religious expression is unique and personal, and American Forn Sidr welcomes various expressions of spiritual connection. Which holidays you celebrate and how is up to you. These are just some options for those who would like to use them and that we will celebrate as an American Forn Sidr community.
Forn Sed Sverige. (Retrieved 12/3/2019). Holidays of the Year.
Forn Sidr of America. (Retrieved 12/3/2019).
Xander. (April 28, 2016). Ranting Recon: What are the Heathen Holidays. Huginn’s Heathen Hof.
The Troth. (2006). Our Troth. Retrieved from Wikipedia.