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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Samhain in Seewinkel

Samhain is the Pagan festival that falls midway between the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) and the Winter Solstice (Yule) and is traditionally celebrated on 31st October. It comes deep into Autumn; only a few stragglers of the summer migrant birds linger on, whilst the geese and thrushes from the Arctic tundra are already pushing southwards. Nipped by the first frosts, the golden leaves of the deciduous trees have mostly fallen to the ground, dislodged by the autumnal gales.

Certainly one can still relish mild, mellow days, but the sun is low in the sky, its radiation weak, and to imagine that there is any remnant of summer is simply to kid oneself. Summer is gone.

This year I am passing the Samhain period around the Seewinkel National Park, close the borders with Slovakia and Hungary, on the eastern shore of the inland steppe lake of Neusiedler See (Lake Neusiedl).

A Hungarian White Donkey greets the Samhain dawn
(see here for more information on these unique donkeys)
The birch trees start to look bare as they lose their leaves
against a backdrop of fine-weather cumulus cl

The golden beds of Phragmites reeds echo the poplar trees
The hay is baled up...

...and the grapes have been harvested for the 2009 vintage.
One small bunch has escaped and will become food for the birds

Winter visiting birds like this Great Grey Shrike are starting to arrive...

...and Clouded Yellow butterflies take advantage of the weakening sunshine to sip the last nectar before looking for a crevice to hibernate.

The village of Illmitz, in the heart of the Seewinkal National Park, catches the rays of the setting sun in the gathering gloom of an evening storm

I wish a Happy Samhain to all my readers


Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Nice pictures especially that on the pony.
Samhain isn't until Saturday you numpty and don't forget that All Saint's Day follows All Soul's day, also coincidentally the 31st October and 1st November.

2:16 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Samhain can vary astronomcally by a day or two each year, so you can have a "festive period" just as you can at Yuletide. Mine starts now, so there :-)

And it's not a pony, it's a donkey. Read the caption and click on the link!

6:33 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Actually All Saint's precedes All Soul's... I had that well drilled into me in my youth lorenzo ;-) As always maalie, you bring a biologist's eye and knowledge to the scene, and give a fascinating insight.

9:42 am  
Blogger Merisi said...

Shetland ponies, Hungarian Donkeys, a bird and a butterfly, sounds like Paradise! :-)

Happy Samhain!

Here in Austria, All Saints is observed on November 1st, All Souls' on the following day.

8:15 pm  
Blogger simon said...

thanks mate... I had a Fullers "London Pride" ale to toast it!

9:53 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

You do like your pagan festivals Maalie, I've not heard of this one before.
I like the detail you pay to nature and the change of seasons.
I hope you are having a good trip.

10:12 pm  
Blogger Shrinky said...

Haha (pointing finger), you've just been called a numpty!

Looks like you had a very fine Samhain indeed, judging by these pictures. God, what a terrible and boring life you must lead.. (jealous? me? as if..)

4:38 pm  

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