I have just come across Modranicht which in Old English is said to mean ‘Night of the Mothers’. This was an event held on either the eve of Winter Solstice, or Christmas Eve, although as it is thought to have been an Anglo Saxon Pagan event it does seem to me, more likely that it was held on the eve of Solstice rather than Christmas.
What caught my attention about it at first was that the person mentioning it spoke of it their seeing it as a night for celebrating Mother Earth and giving thanks to the Earth Mother which seemed a lovely thing to do at any time of year. How nice to have a day in this festive season to take time out, to reflect on, celebrate and make offerings to the Earth.
Then having looked at it a little more closely today I have also seen that it can be a time for celebrating Brigid as the representation of the triple goddess, one of the great mothers of the Celts. As a healing goddess and goddess of fertility Brigid oversees childbirth. Although Brigid has her own day on 1st February it is clear why some choose to celebrate her at Mondranicht as well.
The translation as ‘Night of the Mothers’ seems to suggest that this would have been a time when the feminine as depicted by motherhood in all its creative forms was celebrated which seems to me a very worthwhile celebration. How lovely if we could bring back a celebration of Mother Earth and the feminine at Modranicht in some way. This year on the eve of Winter Solstice I for one will be doing just that.