Satanism doesn't have very many holidays that are widely celebrated by all Satanists. On this path, what is recognized as a holiday is often decided by what a Satanist considers important to them. For instance, one's own birthday and Halloween are probably the two most well known holidays. Besides this, there is Walpurgis Night (or, witches night) that is celebrated by some Satanists on April 30th.
A Christian Influenced Pagan Tradition
The tradition was named after a woman known as Saint Walpurga, who lived in Germany as a missionary and healer in 710 A.D. She was also was credited with converting people in Germany to Christianity, destroying centuries worth of history and tradition in the process. Her monastery became a center for teaching and spirituality. Legend also had it that she had the ability to drive away witches and witchcraft.
The holiday is widely known to the peoples of Europe where different legends and customs allow for celebrations based on the legends of Christianity and pre-Christian religions as well. It is often correlated with May Day celebrations and fertility rites and symbols. In some areas of Europe people make a pilgrimage to Saint Walpurgis' tomb.
Other areas of Europe celebrate in a different way. Recognized as Hexennacht, it is the Witches Night celebration. Some who celebrate the classic and original legends hold that witches gather on the mountain known as Brocken peak, to dance and cavort with the devil. People celebrate with witch costumes, feasts, treats, pranks, and bonfires.
Walpurgis Night in SatanismIt was Anton LaVey who first recognized the importance of this holiday for Satanists. According to legend, he founded his Church of Satan on Walpurgis Night in 1966. Instead of being a night to be feared, it was embraced, celebrated and memorialized.
Other Satanic organizations like the Temple of Satan use Walpurgis night (known to them as Hexennacht) to recognize those who were wrongfully accused of witchcraft and who died at the hands of Christian zealots.
Another reason why Walpurgis Night is so relevant is that the date is exactly halfway to Halloween. Because of this it is also recognized as the second point of the year when the veil between the physical and spiritual is at it's thinnest. This happens twice a year, an in-between time according to the sun and the seasons. These times in between are special and are recognized by many who follow the path of witchcraft.
Modern day witches (and Satanists) are reclaiming this ancient pre-christian tradition in their own ways and celebrating it how they see fit. Indeed, it can be one of the most powerful nights for summoning spirits and demons and to celebrate the spirit of the witch.
Ways for Satanists to Celebrate Walpurgisnacht
Depending on what path of Satanism you practice there are a myriad of ways that you could celebrate this holiday. If you are spiritual or religious, perhaps you could do a ritual to honor the divine feminine. A ritual for Hecate, who is known as a gatekeeper and Goddess of witches, is a fitting honor on Walpurgis eve. Or perhaps a ritual to honor Lilith and her divine spirit. Make it as elaborate or simple as you wish.
Even if you chose to celebrate and dance, or you just wish to spend time in quiet meditation with your favorite music and incense, find a personal way to keep this tradition alive. Those of you who are LaVeyan or atheist might find it fun to listen to the music of Anton LaVey for the evening, or listen to his Black Mass recording, and recognize his work for the Church of Satan, and Satanism in general.
Happy Walpurgis Eve!