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Pagan Holidays

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There are 8 Pagan holidays, called Sabbats, that are spaced evenly through the year. Each marks a seasonal change or celebrates a traditional harvest period. The Wiccan year is cyclical, and is often referred to as the "Wheel of the Year" because each year goes through the harvests and seasons to return back to the beginning each time. Each day has a deep historical background, but here is a quick outline of all eight Pagan holidays. Eventually, a full page will be dedicated to each of them.

Yule

Approx. Dec 21

Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, Alban Arthan

The holiday of Yule was celebrated long before Christians adopted the date. Many of the Christmas traditions we see today stem from old Pagan customs. As the solstice, it is the longest night of the year. From this day forward, light begins to return and we celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God.

Traditions: lighting the Yule log, wreath making, gift giving

Correspondences: pine, hImbolc

Imbolc

Feb 2

Candlemas, Imbolg, Brigid's Day

Imbolc is a day to celebrate the first glimpses of Spring, and it is also dedicated to the Celtic Goddess Brigid. Non-Pagans celebrate today as Groundhog Day. Make new starts in life, as you give your home a thorough cleaning.

Traditions: Burning fires and candles, cleaning, making a bed for Brigid

Correspondences: carnation, rosemary, chamomile, milk

Ostara

Approx. March 21

Spring Equinox, Lady Day

This is another Pagan holiday that has been overlaid with Christian meanings (Easter). Eggs and bunnies are typical symbols, representing new birth and new life. Plant the seeds of long-term goals.

Traditions: Colouring eggs, decorating with flowers

Correspondences: jasmine, daffodil, lotus, new spring flowers

Beltane

May 1

May Day, Walpurgis Night

The God born at Yule is now a man, and the sacred marriage between God and Goddess is consummated. Beltane is a celebration of fertility, growth, love and passion. However you celebrate Beltane, do it with joy and happiness.

Traditions: Dancing around the May Pole, lighting bonfires

Correspondences: Rose, lilac, vanillaolly, myrrh, cinnamon

Midsummer

Approx. June 21

Litha, Summer Solstice, Whitsun

Midsummer is the longest day of the year, and the strength of the Sun God begins to wane. The Goddess has left her Maiden form of Imbolc and is now in her Mother aspect. Refill your herb collection for the coming year.

Traditions: Fairy magick, collecting herbs

Correspondences: Orange, lemon, honeysuckle, vervain

Lammas

August 1

Lughnasadh,

As the first of the three harvest festivals, much of the symbolism for Lammas revolves around grains and bread. Sacrifices were common, though mostly symbolic, in order to ensure the continued success of the harvest.

Traditions: Bread baking, making corn dollies

Correspondences: corn, sandalwood, heather

Mabon

Approx. Sept 21

Autumn Equinox, Cornucopia

Day and night are equal again, and the weather grows colder as winter approaches. This is the second harvest festival. Rituals of thanks at this time have brought about the modern holidays of Thanksgiving. Take some time to think about what you are thankful for.

Traditions: Making and drinking of wine, share with the less fortunate

Correspondences: grapes, blackberries, cedar, patchouli

Samhain

Oct 31

Hallowe'en, All Hallows

Samhain (SOW-en) is the one Sabbat that is also widely celebrated amongst non-Pagans. The God has died, and the Goddess mourns him until his rebirth at Yule. It's the last harvest festival, and the end of the Wiccan year.

Traditions: Divination, honouring the dead, carving Jack o' Lanterns

Correspondences: pumpkins, apples, sage, mugwort

Being a witch or practicing witchcraft does not mean you have to incorporate these Pagan holidays into your life. But doing so can help you appreciate the changes of energy through the year, and get in touch with an earlier time.

This article was contributed by Spell Casters.
Read their Book of Rituals.
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