View Full Version : The Rauhnächte (Rough Nights) of Jul

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010, 06:42 PM
Between christmas and the 6. of january (3 sages) are the socalled Rauhnaechte (like rough nights).

They have been considered as the no-time. The old lunar calender didn't fit into the solar calender and needed adjustments.

It is said that during that time the veil between our reality and the one of the spirits was thin. A lot of things could happen there. Spirits and ghosts went around to pester humans. Often in the old villages humans made Umzuege (parades?) to drive the bad spirits out. People made masks to scare those ghosts.

Houses have been cleaned with insence to drive the evil spirits out.

In the Edda we find some a similar description of what is called a 'wilde Jagd' wild hunt (hunt as a group of men on a raid). That is when Wodan on his white horse (Schimmel) to the walstatt rides, followed by warriors, valkyries, wolfs, dogs and a thundering strom

thus is what the ancient germans saw.
It is also a time of superstition. My father never allowed that during that time laundry was done and in absolutely no case should have hanged out on the line.

Monday, January 4th, 2010, 12:15 AM
These Umzüge still happen, Perchtenlauf (and its respective offshoots, Tuiflerlauf, Perchtenlauf, Mullerlauf, etc.) is still celebrated down here. Only that it has been refunctioned to accompany St. Nicholaus, but essentially we're still talking an old right.

The name Perchtenlauf alone should point out that the Perchten were originally part of the Wild Hunt, the name of the Goddess Perchta (who can be credibly shown to be synonymous to Frigg) should hint this, not to forget that the last of the Rauhenächte, OHG perahtun naht ("the bright night") is dedicated directly to her.

For more information on what would be too long to detail here in this post, please refer to my article "Holda" (= Perchta, Frigg, Nerthus), which is posted here (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=106173).

Something to notice is that down here we also have a tradition that the hanging of laundry is absolutely forbidden on certain Rauhnächte (please, should, for references sake, never be spelt as Raunächte, the h is etymologically conditioned, cf. Rauch "smoke, [archaic] fog", which is also where the adjective would appear to come from - never mind the 1996 spelling reform!), though I would have to check with my grandmother which ones exactly, she's the one that hangs the laundry.

The clothes issue evidently comes from Frigg being the goddess of all spinsters (i.e. those spinning the flax, not the unmarried middle-aged women ;)), IIRC if she finds clothes hung she destroys the entire thread of flaxen a woman has spun through the year.

Finally, on a minor issue, obviously the Rauhnächte should be from December 21/22 (Solstice) to January 1/2 (Perahtun Naht, aka Mother Night). That these came to be four days later was because Pope Julius I decided that Christmas be celebrated on December 25, corresponding to the Roman holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti - paradoxically the date the Romans believe the Solstice to take place.

This date issue was later adapted to most Christian countries, though of course the Orthodox countries which continued to use the Julian calendar over the Gregorian one, celebrate it a good 11-12 days later.

Monday, January 4th, 2010, 01:28 PM
For this information, especially the research or Frau Holda, also on the Wild Hunt, and Rauhnaecht both of which we also mention in our Blot on 12th Night of Yule, each year.
Our Lore speaker always tells the story of Frau Holda on Mothers Night, as well as others.
Thanks, again.