Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

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Asatruars Embrace Wolfenoot

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Some Asatruars have embraced the new pop culture holiday Wolfenoot, invented by a child as a holiday to honor canines, including dogs and wolves, and the people who love them. Some Asatruars have also started their own animal related holidays in reaction to Wolfenoot, including Kitten Nacht and Bearenfornia.

The 7 year old boy who invented Wolfenoot wanted a holiday in which the wolf spirit brings gifts to people who have been kind to dogs. It is celebrated by eating roast meats and a cake decorated to look like the full moon. It is celebrated on Nov. 23rd; the child stated that was the date when the Great Wolf died, according to the original post by the boy's mother, Jax Goss.

The Wolfenoot phenomenon illustrates two very different things: how fast a fad can spread in the age of viral internet memes, and how schisms happen. This holiday is so new that no one has actually celebrated it yet, but there are already people changing the meaning and the date. 

Changing the Meaning

Many of the Asatruars who plan to celebrate Wolfenoot plan to do it as originally envisioned by the child who invented it, as a secular holiday with only traces of folkloric style magical entities, namely the wolf being who hides the gifts, which is sort of like Santa Claus bringing gifts and the Easter Bunny hiding eggs, and also may be an echo of the Wulver, a wolf being who gives fish to the poor in the Sheltland Islands. Other Asatruars plan to heathenize it by adding an honoring of gods, most commonly Tyr as foster-father of Fenris. Tyr already has his own day on the calendar, every Tuesday, just as Odin has every Wednesday.

Changing the Date

Wolfenoot was invented in New Zealand, where they don't celebrate the American holiday Thanksgiving. The date of Wolfenoot conflicts with Thanksgiving. Some Americans plan to substitute Wolfenoot for Thanksgiving, as they consider Thanksgiving to be problematic in that the official imagery and public myth about the holiday, long taught in public schools, is now seen as a cringe-worthy depiction of Native Americans and a whitewashing of history. Other Americans want to continue to celebrate Thanksgiving as it is currently celebrated in American culture, which is as a family-oriented harvest holiday. They plan to celebrate Thanksgiving on its regular day and celebrate Wolfenoot on an alternate day. A heathen kindred in Seattle is planning an official Wolfenoot, but in January. 

Other New Animal Holidays

Kitten Nacht was invented in reaction to Wolfenoot. It is to be celebrated on December 26th, when the household cats are allowed to play with the boxes and ribbons left over from opening presents on Christmas. The humans enjoy paw print cookies and mint tea. Kittennacht was invented in the USA and conflicts with the date of Canada's Boxing Day. 

Felinefest is October 13. It's a day to give cats treats and toys, while the humans eat pizza and cake. 

Bearenfornia is a holiday on which a giant bear in a tutu brings nice people potato wedges. The bear turns bad people into cabbages and eats them. It is to be celebrated on April 6th.  This holiday was also invented as a reaction to Wolfenoot, and like Wolfenoot, was also invented by a child, a 5 year old girl who is the daughter of Erik Lacharity.

Other new animal related holidays have been proposed, including one for honey badgers, but to my knowledge they have not attracted a following like the others. Are you celebrating one of the new animal holidays, or have you made up your own? Comment below if so.

Image: wolf pup and father, photo by Erin Lale.

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners and other books. She was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, is gythia of American Celebration Kindred, and admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press for 5 years, and is the author of the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018.

Comments

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Thursday, 18 October 2018

    Here in Virginia they make a big to-do about the first thanksgiving being held at Berkley Plantation two years before the pilgrims arrived. Something about the charter requiring that they celebrate a feast of harvest home each year. In all the decades that the local paper has been running the story not once have they mentioned what an English feast of Harvest Home entails. Nothing at all about food, songs, dances, games, pantomimes or any of that stuff. Nothing on regional variations between Kent and Mercia or any other county in England either. After this years election I will write the paper and ask them.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Friday, 19 October 2018

    Anthony, certainly someone should tell them what it's all about!

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