Monday, March 2, 2015

Ancient Dieties

Tagalog Gods & Goddesses

Tagalog is the term used to describe the ethnic group of the people living in the Philippines. The population of the Philippines is over 1 million and while the citizens are known as Filipino, they are also members of different ethnic groups. Tagalog is among the more prominent and, like the other groups, has it’s a language and belief system all its own. 

Beliefs and Tagalog Deities
The Tagalog deities were more prominent before the Christianization of the Philippines took place. In the process, many of the deities began to disappear.

Here is a closer look at some of them:

Amanikable: This ill-tempered god of the sea, scorned by a woman, never married.  It is believed that his hatred for her caused him to send tidal waves that could drown humans who traveled the sea.

Bathala: Known to be the supreme god of all who created man and everything that inhabits the earth. He was believed to live in Kaluwalhatian with gods that were not as powerful as him. When the conversion to Christian beliefs took place, he was then referred to as the Christian God.

Idiyanale: This goddess of labor and good deeds can be called on for advice for successful outcomes. She was married to Dimangang the god of good harvest.

Lakapati: The goddess of fertility known to be the most understanding and kindest deity of the Tagalogs.  She is the protector of farm animals and crops who gave agriculture to mankind. Her name means "Giver of Food".

Interesting to note that Spanish occupiers during the 16th century condemned women tribal leaders as pagan heretics. Although suppressed, these matriarchal tendencies still run deep in Filipino society.  Filipino women enjoy strong leadership roles today in business, politics, academia, the arts and in religious institutions.

Related articles:
Another Fertility Goddess   

Monday, February 23, 2015


Maslenitsa: Eastern Slavic Folk Holiday 

Maslenitsa, also known as Butter Week, Crepe week, or Cheesefare Week is celebrated during the last week before Lent—the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter). Although the Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday, Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival. This year it is held mid-February. 

With origins in both pagan and Christian traditions it is – in Slavic mythology - a celebration of the imminent end of the winter.

During this week in Christianity meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians. Only milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, hence the name “Cheese-fare week". 

As in Western Christianity parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life are prohibited during Lent. So Maslenitsa is a last chance to partake of dairy products and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season.

The popular crepes and pancakes served at this time are made from butter, eggs and milk. 

Community activities include snowball fights and sledding. In some regions, each day of Maslenitsa had its traditional activity: one day for sleigh-riding, another for the sons-in-law to visit their parents-in-law, another day for visiting the godparents, etc. 

Want to try your hand at making the popular Blini (pancakes)? 
Here are some recipes:
Garden leafs and smoked Salmon  

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Land With Two Legendary Places

There are some places that are filled with legend, most of it based upon real places and real events as passed down from person to person.
In Dutch culture there are two special spots that wake up the imagination. They are Cockaigne and Devils Bridge.
The places shrouded in folklore are very different from one another. One is located on a map of the country and the other exists only in the mind.

Cockaigne is an imaginary place that came into being during the medieval days. It is a place of luxury and pleasures that was considered to be an antidote to the hardships attached to typical peasant life.  Here is where it had been rumored nuns could show off their bottoms without rebuke and food was everywhere. Even the sky was raining cheese.

In an atlas you'll find  Devil’s Bridge. Also known as Gotthard Pass, it is one of the highest mountain passes in Switzerland and connects the German speaking part of the country to the Italian speaking part. 
This Devils Bridge was not used until about the 13th century.  The most popular Devils Bridge legend involves the story of a Swiss herdsman who wished a devil would build a bridge. 
The devil appeared and agreed to build the bridge, but only if the soul of the first person to cross it was sacrificed.

And there went the herdsman!

Related topics:
Bali:A Traveler's Folktale