Historically, Heathen holidays were determined by regional culture and geography. What was celebrated, when it was celebrated, and how it was celebrated varies widely across Heathen Europe. Forn Sidr of America observes our own modern American Heathen holidays, which combines our Heathen culture with our North American heritage.
We recognize High and Low Days in our holiday calendar. Blots and Feasts are considered High Days. ‘Blot’ (pronounced like “bloat”) is an Old Norse word for “offering.” These celebrations include making offerings and giving thanks to the Spirits and Powers. Festivals are considered Low Days and are, by nature, less traditional and more exuberant. Fests often include the secular fun and mirth already ingrained in American culture.
Although these are the official holidays of Forn Sidr of America, the practitioner is free to determine which celebrations best suit their personal practice and beliefs.
AMERICAN FORN SIDR HOLIDAYS
Yule Feast – Winter Solstice
High Day | December 21
A festival of light, celebrated on the 12 days and nights on and following the Winter Solstice, the sun’s return and anticipation of warmer days ahead are celebrated. Baldur’s rebirth is honored as a symbol of returning hope and warmth following his sacrifice at Summer Solstice. Various Yuletide traditions are observed, and Odinn appears in the role of the Yule God (Julnir) bringing gifts. Feasts and gatherings are shared with friends and family. Although historically a lesser holiday, today it is celebrated with enthusiasm and jubilation in accordance with American Holiday customs.
Skadi and Ullr Fest
Low Day | 2nd Weekend in January
A festival to honor the powers and spirits of the Winter season. The deities of Skadi and Ullr are honored for their gifts and blessings, whether that be extra snowfall or to be sustained through the winter season. Practitioners may participate in hunting with the blessing of Ullr if desired, and friends and Family gather over fires to stave off Winter’s chill.
Spring Blot – Vernal Equinox
High Day | March 21
Spring Equinox is celebrated on the midway point between Winter and Summer Solstices. Feminine powers and land spirits are honored as the processes of gestation, rebirth, and the budding life of Spring are observed. A focus on balance and equity is prevalent. Celebrants often participate in scavenger hunts, picnics, outdoor activities, and environmental conservation projects.
Low Day | April 1
Celebrated on April Fool’s Day, satire and irony are major themes as logic and cultural norms are turned on their head to highlight the mischievous nature of the trickster deity, Loki. Loki Fest is celebrated with whimsy, practical jokes, and ridiculous performative expression as the status quo is turned upside down. Masks and Costumes in line with the topsy-turvy themes of this festival may also be worn. A Trickster/Fool is crowned for the day.
Low Day | April 22 – May 1
Beginning on Earth day and ending on May Day, this festival is a raucous celebration to herald the beginning of summer and new life. The nine days and nights leading up to May Day are observed for the days and nights Odin sacrificed himself on Yggdrasil, the world tree, for the knowledge of the runes to share with humanity. May Day celebrations are conducted outside, where Bale/Bon fires are lit, Maypole Dances are performed, and other frivolity is enjoyed. Deities of fertility, life, and the earth are honored as well as Odin.
Remembrance Day Feast
High Day | Last Monday in May
Coinciding with Memorial Day, this is a holiday to remember the honorable dead. Customs include memorial services, visiting and caretaking of burial sites, and feasts and celebrations to remember the fallen. Empty tables are set to hold space for the missing while toasts, offerings, and stories are shared to honor warriors and other casualties of violence.
Midsummer Blot – Summer Solstice
High Day | June 21-22
The longest day of the year and Baldur’s sacrifice is honored as a cyclic event which corresponds with the shortening of days until the return of the sun at Winter Solstice. This is a time to honor the sacrifices of deities, powers, and spirits for the bounty and blessings of autumn. Sacrifices of the self and of deities are honored through offerings, ceremony and Symbel.
Kvasi Fest – First Harvest
Low Day | August 1
The end of summer and the first harvest is celebrated. The first harvest is typically composed of grains, wheat, and honey. Kvasir, the deity associated with the Mead of Poetry, is honored by presentations of creative expression and music. Sif, the grain goddess, is honored for the sacrifice of her golden hair as representation of reaping of wheat. Bragi and Saga may also be honored. Mead, ale, beer, and other alcohol is brewed and enjoyed.
Autumn Blot – Autumn Equinox
High Day | September 21-22
The Autumn Equinox is the midway point between the Summer and Winter Solstices. Corresponding with the second harvest, offerings and an impressive feast of Thanksgiving is prepared, and the earth powers are honored for a fruitful year. Good food and community are shared between friends, allies, and family. Additional focus is placed on reestablishing balance and equity in all things and situations.
High Day | Oct 31
This feast day for the Dead is one of remembrance for Ancestral Spirits, spirits of the deceased, unborn, close friends, and other beloved dead. Silent Suppers and Memorial Feasts are held to honor them. This is also a night of mischief and fraternization by the spirits that visit while the Veil between the physical and unseen is thin. Costumes and masks may be worn to emulate the spirits and join in their revelry, the likes of which can include festivals and other gatherings of the uncanny.