Category: Wheel of the Year
Events and Holidays of the Wiccan Year
The festivals follow the life and death of the sun each year, and the holidays in accordance with that. These eight major celebrations mark the most common time for a seasonal celebration.
Wiccans celebrate "Sabbats" and "Esbats". Esbats are the rituals that are performed on the full moon of each month, and "Sabbats" are the turning of the Wheel of the Year!
These are the holidays that celebrate the changing seasons and cycles of life and celebrate the Earth and all that it gives to us.
YULE - WINTER SOLSTICE December 21st:
The celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. It is the celebration rebirth of the Sun, which is the promise of spring and life even on this the darkest day. Therefore some consider this the new year. The burning of the log is to give the Sun strength. Mumming (plays) such as "St. George" is a Pagan survival, it represents the rebirth of the God. Wassailing is also a Pagan custom. The Roman festival of the Solstice was Saturnalia, which lasted from December 17th to the 24th.
IMBOLC - Cross-quarter day- February 2:
February is a purifactory month, bonfires are held now. In the Christian calendar this festival was converted to the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (Mary). Candles for the following year were purified in the western church - therefore we get the name Candlemas.
OSTARA - VERNAL (SPRING) EQUINOX March 20 / 21:
The celebration of the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. Day and Night are equal length. It is a time for planting and celebrating the first signs of fertility and rebirth. Symbols of Ostara like eggs, chicks, and rabbits have been adopted by Christians in their Easter holiday. The word, Easter is from the goddess Eostra, Ishtar or Astarte.
BELTANE - Cross-quarter day - May 1:
May Day. Beltane celebrates the Marriage of the Goddess and the God,the goddess is thought to conceive the Divine Child at this time,to which she will give birth to at Yule. The maypole dance is symbolic of the union of the goddess and the god . Pagan Handfastings occur at this time.
LITHA - SUMMER SOLSTICE June 21:
The Summer Solstice a celebration in honor of the Sun-God.Traditional Pagan activities of Midsummer is to leap across bonfires to promote fertility of animals and crops.
LUGHNASADH - Cross-quarter day - August 1:
Also known as Lammas, this is the first of the three Harvest festivals. The first fruits of the annual harvest are reaped, and the days grow shorter.
MABON - AUTUMN EQUINOX September 21:
The Autumnal Equinox, is the second of the Harvest holidays. Mabon is a time to recognize what we have and to begin preparing for the coming winter.
SAMHAIN - Cross-quarter day - October 31/ November 1
Death, the third of the Harvest holidays, the ending of the cycle, death, but with the hope of rebirth and the New Year.The traditional time for the annual slaughter to ensure food throughout the winter months. Take this time to remember departed ones. In some traditions the end of the year. The separation between this physical world and the spirit world is thin. Halloween customs are a part of this element of death, the thin line at this cycle and remembering the dead and the hopes of rebirth. On this night Magic is more powerful.
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