Winterfylleth (Ƿinterfylleþ) - October


Winterfylleth is the Anglo-Saxon or Old English name for the month of October. The early Anglo-Saxons based their year on the lunar calendar, when a month was marked by the phases of the moon (hence the name monath from the word mona, meaning moon).

Additionally, they divided the year into two parts, Summer and Winter. The beginning of Winter was marked by the first full moon in October. This day was called Samhain, what we now call Halloween. Samhain translates to "The end of Summer."

The Venerable Bede was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Peter. He wrote many texts on the traditions of the Anglo-Saxon people in the 7th century. On the subject of traditions surrounding the beginning of Winter, he writes:

The old English people split the year into two seasons, summer and winter, placing six months — during which the days are longer than the nights — in summer, and the other six in winter. They called the month when the winter season began Ƿintirfylliþ, a word composed of "winter" and "full moon", because winter began on the first full moon of that month.

The Anglo-Saxon People

Angle, Saxon, and Jute Migration Angle, Saxon, and Jute Migration

The Anglo-Saxons were a people group who inhabited a portion of Britain in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe.

When the Roman army left Britain around 410 AD, there was no force left to defend the island. Tribes called the Angle, Saxon, and Jute (the Anglo-Saxons) invaded. They left their homelands in Germany, Denmark, and Holland, and crossed the North Sea. The Anglo-Saxons ruled most of Britain but never conquered Cornwall, Wales, or Scotland.

The Anglo-Saxons ruled modern day England until Vikings began to attack the island in 793, when the first recorded Viking attack occurred in Dorset. Still, their old traditions are celebrated by many people the world over.

The Anglo-Saxon people practiced these traditions before crossing the North Sea, and thus owe their customs to Germanic tradition. Many Germanic cultures in mainland Europe celebrate the same festivals, taking place in late October and being associated with All Saints day and the dead. The Autumn festival of the Germanic peoples was also held on the day of the full moon.

Originally published
Researched and Written by: Thomas Acreman

  Migration and Mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England by
   by Joseph Bosworth

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Winterfylleth (Ƿinterfylleþ) - October

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