• Calendar,  Celtic Myth,  Games Fairies Play,  Music

    Tam Lin: Love, Sacrifice, and Halloween

    I can’t really think about Halloween, or Samain, if you prefer, without thinking of the ballad of “Tam Lin,” especially this part:   And ance it fell upon a day A cauld day and a snell, When we were frae the hunting come, That frae my horse I fell, The Queen o’ Fairies she caught me, In yon green hill to dwell. And pleasant is the fairy land, But, an eerie tale to tell, Ay at the end of seven years We pay a teind to hell; I am sae fair and fu o flesh, I’m feard it be mysel. But the night is Halloween, lady, The morn is Hallowday;…

  • Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

    Très Riches Heures for October

    In this calendar image for the month of  October from the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (f. 10v) the labor of the month is sowing the winter grain. This is one of the images that was left uncompleted when Jean Duc de Berry died in 1416. The original artists responsible for most of the image in this book of hours, the Limbourg brothers, also died. The manuscript passed to King Charles VII, the Duke’s brother, and the image for the October calendar was finished by another artist. In the warmer parts of Europe, the wine regions, October marked the month when the grapes harvested in September were put…