Deuoriuos Riuri

Possibly the Winter Solstice, so that other, usually modern names would be: Alban Arthan (Modern Druid), Christmas (Christian), Yule (Scandanavian) , and Saturnalia (Roman).

It’s questionable whether the Celts celebrated the Winter Solstice; however, Alexi Kondratiev’s book The Apple Branch supposes a possible meaning to a feast mentioned on the Coligny Calendar of the Sequani—a day called Deuoriuos Riuri, possibly meaning “great divine feast of frost”, which is thought to fall during sometime in our December; if this is so, then it would point to a Celtic celebration of the event; even if not, we know that the Paleolithic culture of Ireland likely celebrated, as evidenced by the architecture of Newgrange.

Now, Newgrange was the home of Oengus mac ind-Og, a figure who is often tied—particularly linguistically—to the Gallic Apollo Maponos, the Divine Son. If Oengus’s home was associated with the rebirth of the sun at winter, it isn’t too much of a stretch to connect Oengus and Maponos with the Child of Light. But this is all conjecture. At any rate, other things associated with Yule include the hunting of the wren (which Kondratiev ties to Lleu/Lugh), and the mistletoe (already well-associated with the Druids).

Also, in the figure of the Mari Llwyd, the Welsh hobbyhorse brought around by mummers, he makes a connection with the Horse Goddess, such as Epona and Rhiannon—whose son was stolen from her. This connection with Mari Llwyd wandering the town and Rhiannon losing her son also occurred to me, and it seems a fair enough connection, though I’m not sure if it can be a definite one.

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Mary Jones © 2004