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Roodmas (from Old English 'rod' pr. 'rood', rood, cross, and 'mas', mass) is an archaic English word meaning "Mass of the Cross". This festivity is associated with the Heathen festival of Beltane, the same Neopagan festivity, Walpurgis Night, May Day and witchcraft. It took place at midnight on May 1, during a time in which it was common to celebrate some masses at 12:00 AM (0:00 hrs), presumably in an attempt to diminish the influence of Paganism. During the Middle Age and Renaissance it was said that witches and warlocks celebrated a reunion called Great Sabbath on this night to honour the Devil and impugn the validity of Christian sacraments. It is true that some people confessed their participation in this Great Sabbath, but these are inherently suspects as they were given under torture; generally confessions given at freedom were not taken as valid by ecclesiastical tribunals. Certainly some persons practiced Satanism that day, but it is likely that most accused people were Pagans who refused to accept dogmatic Christianity to the satisfaction of authorities, continuing the celebration of their ceremonies, which were often reconstrued into Satanic or polytheistic rites.
In fiction this festivity is mentioned several times by H. P. Lovecraft in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (among others), though often misspelled to imitate the arbitrary orthography of the 17th and 18th Centuries. In his fiction and other related authors, the occasion is considered, together with All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) the most favourable days to invoke the stronger powers of Darkness.
It took place at midnight on May 1, during a time in which it was common to celebrate some masses at 12 AM (0:00 hrs), presumably in an attempt to diminish the influence of Paganism.
Persecutions were common the days after the celebration of Roodmas because people who did not go to the church were considered to be Pagans first, and Satanists later, and the Christian authorities were not well disposed to tolerate non-Christian population in their territory, as History proves.
During the Middle Age and Renaissance it was said that witches and warlocks celebrated a reunion called Great Sabbath on this night to honour the Devil and offend Jesus, God and all sacraments.
Beltane is the cross-quarter festival that marks the start of the summer quarter of the year and the end of the spring quarter.
The festival is sometimes referred to as Roodmas, a name coined by the medieval Christian Church in an attempt to associate Beltane with the Cross (the Rood) rather than the life-giving symbol of the Maypole.
Beltane was also appropriated by the Church as the Feast Day of Saint Walpurga, who was said to protect crops and was often represented with corn.
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