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Búfárhelgr

This high festival falls in our original calendar in the month Glaðsheimr (shining light world) - home to the god Odin. From the end of August until September it was Búfárhelgr (Bufardag / Bufarhelg). These days were the end of the harvest.


Bufar, as the word indicates, is the day our ancestors moved with the cattle from the summer mountain, and down to the farm before autumn and winter. All summer the cattle had been eating, while all the cheese, butter and sour cream were produced.


The day was naturally an important event. On Primstaven, the period is marked with a knife or axe, as animals were often slaughtered after the summer pastures for winter food. In addition, the period from August 24 to September 1 was used for other preparations for the winter - slaughter, grinding and all necessary preservation from the harvest. The period was in many ways the very basis for the tribe’s winter survival, and a new year. The whole family was naturally involved in those days.


En aften ved sæteren. By Knud Bergslien, 1858.



The tradition of "Bufar" can be traced very far back in time. Norwegians in the Stone Age, and from just after the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, alternated between settlements along the coast during wintertime and on the mountain during summers. In the winter, we lived down at the coastlines, hunting, fishing and gathering. However, the sea was the primary source of nutrition for most of the winter. But in the summer you went to the mountains, hunting for wild reindeer, freshwater fishing and gathering berries. In that sense, we have had "interchangeability" since the earliest Stone Age and the hunter and gatherer society. For logical and natural reasons, the same practice applied when Norwegians began to cultivate the land, keep livestock and cattle, with settled farms in the lowlands, and with small and practical cabins in the mountains. This is a widespread practice that has lived up to recent times.


“Búfardagr” at Kamben in Gol, Norway. Kamben - of Norse Kámbrvín. First syllable - kambr, of "mountain edge" and second syllable -vín, of "cultivated land". Farm names with second syllable-vín with modern form -en, dates to no later than year 0 or before. According to Norwegian Norse tradition, the first syllable always describes a natural landmark around the farm. This logical construction of farm names, we find all over cultivable Norway.



After the forced Christianisation, the days associated with the “Bufar weekend” were renamed and symbolically filled with foreign history and symbolism. August 24, was renamed "Barsok" and dedicated to the Apostle Bartolomeus. He converted the pagan king of Armenia, according to the Christian scriptures. As punishment for his crimes, he was skinned alive, and beheaded by the Romans.


August 29, the Christians named "Vergismesse" and dedicated the day to the Apostle and Baptist John. The Christians made it illegal to carry weapons this day. John the Baptist was beheaded for his crimes. In Norway, all free men in pre-Christian times carried weapons.


September 1, the Christians named "Eidismesse" and dedicated the day to St. Egidus. According to the monotheistic writings, he performed "miracles" that gave unwanted attention in France (the pagan Gallia of that time). He had to flee Provence and lived two years as an outlaw, which was a normal pagan punishment for heinous crimes. Then Egidus sought "asylum" in a monastery, and remained there until his death.


Our pre-Christian tradition marked “wages for the pursuit” now. In Odin's characters - spirit, thought, inspiration and power - before a long winter. We marked the laws of nature, and that people, kinsmen, cattle and supplies had arrived safely, again.

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