This is for Saturday April 9, 2011
April 9th - A-ma Festival - Portugal and China - A-Ma is a Taoist goddess and is particularly revered in Macau. Also known as Tin Hau, she is the deity of fisher folk and other seafarers. Legend told of the story where a junk, while sailing across the South China Sea, was caught in a tremendous storm and was about to sink. All aboard were terrified but at the last minute, a beautiful young woman stood up and ordered the elements to calm down. It did and the junk reached land safely. This mysterious woman is none other than the Goddess A-Ma. A temple was built on the spot where she landed and it is still there to this day, on the Inner Harbor. The name Macau came to be when many centuries later, when Portuguese soldiers asked for the name of the place, the locals replied "A-Ma-Gao" (Bay of A-Ma). It was eventually shortened to Macau. In recent times, a statue of A-Ma was erected on the highest point of Coloane Island. During the A-Ma Festival, offerings are made. There are also performances of Chinese opera.
April 9th - Day of Jarl Hakon - As ruler of the western part of the realm, Hakon restored the worship of the Old Gods and left the alien religion of Christianity. In the process, the common folk regained political liberties which were erased under the Christian yoke, and the flame of our Troth burned brighter in an era of gathering gloom. It may be that Hakon's defense of our ancestral ways helped encourage the survival of our traditions in Iceland, where they eventually became the seeds of modern day Asatru. On this day, reflect on how the actions of the individual can impact world events and the future of our people and way of life.