The Winter Solstice
The Boar's Head Carol
The Boar's Head is Part of a
Yuletide Tradition About Boars. There are many versions of the Boar's
Head Carol, including one with a Latin line about serving the boar with
mustard. In antiquity the fierce boar was feared and respected. With its
ferocious nature the boar was associated with death, just as the winter
solstice was associated with the death of light. In northern climates,
where the land was frozen in winter, hunters needed to kill to feed
their families. Even if dangerous, a boar was a large enough animal to
provide a feast for quite a few. Its head, suitably dressed up, was fit
for a king or queen or god.
Adonis, who died in Aphrodite's loving arms, was killed by a boar that
might have been sent by a jealous Ares.
Calydonian Boar Hunt
Atalanta was accorded honor for being the first to hit the Calydonian
The 4th Labor of Hercules was the capture of the Erymanthian Boar.
The Norse fertility brother and sister god and goddess Freyr and Freya
each rode a boar. Freya's was Hildisvin and Freyr's boar Gullenbursti
was made by the dwarves.
A boar was sacrificed to Freyr at the Winter Solstice. Amid trumpets
blaring and minstrels singing, the boar's head with an apple in its
mouth, was carried in on a gold or silver platter.
Here is a familiar version (from a publication by Thomas Wright in 1841)
of the Boar's Head Carol that was first published in 1521, with
translation of the Latin.
head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bay and rosemary
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio.
(However many are at the feast)
||: Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino. :||
(I bring the boar's head,
giving praises to the Lord)
head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico
(serve with song).
[A tastier version of this line:
Servitur cum sinapio.
(It is served with mustard)]
hath provided this
In honor of the King of bliss
Which, on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio
(in the Queen's hall).
winter Solstice is older than recorded history and was the religion
of Cornwall before the coming of Christianity. It is interesting
that when we study the Saints of Cornwall, and we probably have more
parishes named after saints than anywhere else in Britain, we find that of
the 18 parishes in the West of Cornwall 12 have feast or fairs on dates
connected to the worship of the sun.
tradition of the winter Solstice was for the Druid / Bard to gather them
around the yule log or block and then to tell them a story. Our
story can be found
page is still being worked on so come back in a few days to see it again.
Dates of Pagan Festivals
Dates of parish
feasts & Fayres
2nd Imbolc Also called Oimelc and Candlemas,
celebrates the awakening of the land and the growing power of the
Ives Feast Feb 2nd
Kew. Feast Feb. 8th
Breward nearest Sunday Feb.22nd
Feast Feb. 22nd
Fri 20 The Spring
Spring Equinox celebrates the renewed life of
the Earth that comes with the Spring.
Celebrations All parishes
Fri 1 Beltane
celebrate Beltane with maypole dances, symbolizing the mystery of
the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God.
Helston Feast 8th
of May (Flora Day)
Sun 21 Summer
Solstice - Litha
day of the year
Feast 23rd of June
Sat 1 Lughnasadh
harvest festival and one of the Pagan festivals of Celtic origin
which split the year into four.
Celebrations all Parishes
Tue 22 Autumn
day is celebrated when day and night are of equal duration.
Sat 31 Samhain
(pronounced 'sow'inn') marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also
celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at
St Earth Feast Oct. 31st
St Just Feast First Sunday and Monday in
St Ewe Feast Nov.1st.
St Cury Feast Nov. 2nd
Mon 21 Winter
Solstice - Yule
is the time of the winter solstice, when the sun child is reborn, an
image of the return of all new life born through the love of the
Gods. Within the Northern Tradition Yule is regarded as the New
Christmas Celebrations all