By Witchipedia, Festivals

What is Modraniht: Festival on the Eve of Yule

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Celebrated on December 24 or the eve of the Winter Solstice.

Mōdraniht was a Saxon and Anglo-Saxon festival that took place on the eve of Yule. No details of the original festival survive though the 8th-century historian Bede mentioned it.

He seemed to indicate that they stayed up through the night. Sacrifices and feasting were quite likely. It may have been a new year celebration.

Scholars believe that the “mothers” may have been ancestral Goddesses, which may have included Valkyries, the Norns and/or female disir.

Also known as Mutternacht, Modranect, Night of the Mothers, Mothers’ Night.

Among modern Heathens, this is a time to honor the matrilineal ancestors as well as well as ancestral Goddesses and tribal Matrons and festivities may also include honoring living matriarchs,  mothers and grandmothers.

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About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

2 thoughts on “What is Modraniht: Festival on the Eve of Yule”

  1. Mōdraniht is not about OUR matrilineal folk, it is about the mother of Baldur, Frigg(a)… On the longest night (winter solstice) Frigg labours to give birth to the light of the world (Baldur) and thus end the lengthening of the nights… SHE is the mother we celebrate on Mōdraniht, not OUR mothers.

    It is NOT some pagan/heathen version of the American Mother’s Day BS, which was invented by corporations to increase sales of gifts and cards on one day a year… It is maddening and pathetic that neo pagans and heathens equate Mother Night with Mother’s Day. Educate yourselves about the old gods or get yourselves back to your twee American Christian focused society.

    Hail the Æsir! Hail the kin! Hail the folk!

    • I am not sure how what I’ve written inspired such passion, but I have added some more sources for you if you would like to research further. Please remember that there are many Heathen traditions that practice in various ways as there is sometimes little to go on when recreating these rituals. This particular take is one that I had not heard before from the Heathen community. Thank you for sharing it.


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