For most people, Pentecost is only a few days off in the early summer. Few know the newer Christian message. Even fewer know the original pagan message of this holiday. It is ancient, and far older than what one calls Pentecost in Christianity. The word Pentecost comes from the pagan Greek word “pentecoste”, which means 50 days after Austr (Easter). Therefore, this holiday is moving, and follows the time of Easter, according to the lunar cycle. Originally, this holiday fell 50 days after the first summer day.
Austr fell as previously mentioned on March 21. Valborg night and Cockoo day fell 40 days after. The sowing season after “Skoklafall” (Pentecost) fell 40 days after the Valborg celebration. The 40-day dates, as known, represent a woman's pregnancy lasting, and are related to the festival's continuous cycle and nature otherwise, and in line with the previously mentioned three overlapping cycles for reincarnation.
Thus, according to our original calendar, the festival falls in the month of Glítnír (glittering / shiny - home of the god Ty / Forseti). The month is also called Stekktíð, Eggtíð (Egg and Lamb month), with the zodiac sign Tvíburar (Twins).
On June 3, it is Skóklafallsdagr (Skoklefallsdag). This was a specific pagan celebration day, since our ancestors were now finished with the spring preparations; now the plow on the horse was removed, hence the Norse word “skókla” (plow) Skóklafall means “fall of the plow”)). The traditional food on this day was "skakkegraut", which is seed porridge (from sowing).
In Snorri Sturlassons Heimskringla it is also mentioned that veal steak was the food to be eaten. Even older sources confirm the same. This day was also called “the Fish day”, and is marked on Primstaven with a fish. The day was to be dedicated to fishing. In pagan times, this day and the period until June 9 was important, when it ended with what was called "Kolbjørn med laksen” (“Kolbjørn with the salmon"). We celebrated that the salmon now go up into the rivers to spawn again. That is why the pagan assemblys (Ting), which started at Bjørnevaka, should also end now, and the day is therefore also known as "Tingférsoka" (“the day you leave the Ting”). The summer begins on this day, and lasts until “siste hundedag” (“the last hound day") which is August 23rd.
In mythology, more specifically in Gylvagínníng, we can read that the gods are furious at Loke and try to catch him, after he was responsible for Balder's death (the death of the sun / light, at autumn equinox). Loke stayed home, in a mountain cave with four entrances, and stayed there at night time. But, during the day he turned himself into a salmon, and hid in the Frananger waterfall. Loki pondered on the different ways the gods could catch him when he swam in the shape of the salmon. He began to make masks of linen thread he pocessed during night time in front of the fire. It went towards dawn, and he slipped into the shape of the salmon again, and swimmed into the waterfall. But, the Æsir went to his home and found the net he had made of the linen thread. Kvasir (meaning: “the best essence of all gods”. Kvasir possesses the poetic mead, which is a personification of the intellect itself) - understood that this was a tool used to catch fish. The gods therefore made a fishingnet to catch Loke. The gods fished for Loke in the in the waterfall and below. Thor (meaning: gravity, willpower) steered the net from one side, but Loke always escaped, either between rocks or by swimming up the waterfall. The gods attached stones to the net so that Loke couldn't escape, and Loke tried to bounce over the net. Thor grabbed hold of him and squeezed. By the way, the only way you can catch the slippery salmon (Loke) properly in practical life. The myth in Gylvagínníng is about the forces of nature, the intellect of man and perhaps also how to learn how to fish in ancient times. The myth is also the telling of a re-incarnation process. This myth is also symbolically and structurally compatible with other interpretations. We recognize all the components, across all the myths; for example, Loke as the adrenaline / "the swimming", the mountain as the mother's life (womb), the element water and fire, to be trapped / hoocked - where Loke always does it according to the magic numbers for a pregnancy's length etc.
The more recent and “Norwegianised” "Kolbjørn med laksen", is related to Thor in the myth - a myth that was very likely to be passed down orally around the ancestral fires during this festival.
According to the mythology, the sky-god and the month are represented by this natural force. He is Odin's equivalence, and possesses Odin's attributes accordingly. Ty is the god of war, and a masculine force. He is also called Forseti, which is the balancing power, justice and nature's balancing restoration.
The forces are also represented this way; Ty represents the righteous warrior. Odin represents the strategic warrior and Thor the primitive and ruthless warrior. All the forces are represented in Ty, and they are all natural and necessary. Ty's feminine counterpart is logically the goddess Jörð (earth), daughter of Nátt and Ánnar (night and second (time)). In order for a seed in the soil to germinate (the feminine - Jörð), masculine powers (balance from above, sun and rain - Ty) are needed. It is therefore logical that Thor is the son of Odin (Ty's equivalent) and Earth. He is the protector of men. He is the "farmer's son" arcetype himself. He is a picture of you, and the myths about him are also about how you came into being when you again retrieved your hammer, your heart, your life force.
A summer day. By Hans Dahl.
Our pagan festival was a feast for crops, that planting and sowing was done for the summer and fall. Ty, Earth and the Sun´s masculine and feminine forces work together for new life now. As we know, all life and chemical reactions are based on these three basic elements: earth, water and fire (O2, H2O and H2), which is actually the original "Trinity". This trinity appears throughout our mythology, in the form of gods with various masks (kennings).
The traditions surrounding the celebration seem to be similar to those during the Valborg night. Alfaeldr (ancestral fire) was burnt, and May King and Queen (the chief couple who were democratically elected after competitions) renewed their marriage vows.
It was also common to hold a “Brageskål” (the toast of Brage). Brage means “brave”. He is a god in our mythology representing bravery, honor and poetry. They raised the horn, made a promise of great deeds for the current year, in the presence of witnesses, and drank.
Sigvalde Jarl holds «Brageskål». By Halvdan Egedius.
It was, not surprisingly, tradition to decorate with birch leaves at this time as well.
Naturally, the end of the sowing season was an important mark. The seeds were laid in the ground. The plows were taken of the horse, the salmon were back in the rivers, and the summer had begun. It was time for progress and growth. That this festival was essential is not the least strange. The work that was now discontinued was to lay the foundations for all winter supplies, and in most ways were the prerequisites for the survival of the family and kin.
During the forced Christianization of our territories, the day of fishing was dedicated to St. Nicodemus, a Jewish scholar, who was supposed to have visited Jesus at night (Jn 3: 1; 7:50; 19:39, ff).
Skoklefallsdagen, they dedicated St. Erasmus, a Jew who was tortured and killed by the Romans in the 300s. "Kolbjørn with the Salmon" or should we rather say "Thor with the Salmon," they dedicated to St. Columbia (hence the Norwegian Kolbjørn (bjørn/bear)). St. Columbia was an Irish missionary responsible for converting Scotland to the Christian regime, among other things.
After the forced Christianization, the feast and the festival for the end of the sowing season were turned into "Pentecost" and filled with the Middle Eastern desert accounts of the sight of the Holy Ghost's to the apostles, in the form of tongues of fire in the skies. In addition, the festival was set for the "church birthday". The natural elemental teachings were transformed into the story of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, forced baptism and “Christian speaking in tongues”.