Sunday, 7 December 2014

Weihnacht - the Sacred Night

The word Weihnacht is often translated into English as Christmas. This isn't a literal translation though, for the true translation would be 'Hallowed Night' or 'Sacred Night' - and doesn't necessarily refer to christmas day - rather a sacred day - the Sonnenwende.

The word Weih is related to the old English Weoh which was a hallowed place like a temple or hof. Weeford in Staffordshire for example was originally called Weohford - the Ford by the Weoh.

In old Norse this word is Ve, one of Odin's brothers.  This is from the Proto-Germanic *wīhą (sacred place or thing), from *wīhaz (holy), from Proto-Indo-European *weyk- (to choose, separate out, set aside as holy, consecrate, sacrifice).