Pagan Holidays/Sabbats?

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Forums -> Other Paths -> Pagan Holidays/Sabbats?

Pagan Holidays/Sabbats?
Post # 1
Okay so forgive me if I'm wrong but I just want to learn more about the different pagan holidays, I believe they're called Sabbats? I'm not sure if it's under wicca but someone let me know. I know Beltane is coming up soon and from what I've been told sounds lovely but I would love to learn more about the different ones in depth and how can one celebrate them as a solitary. Again I'm sorry if I'm mixing things up but I would love to learn more and be pointed in the right direction. If someone has a great understanding I would love to hear what you have to say. Thank you all who can help me!

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Re: Pagan Holidays/Sabbats?
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 2
Well,there are eight Sabbats in the year. They served two purposes originally. They were "rest" periods, and periods of "reflection and planning".The longest Sabbat was in Northern Europe. That was Yule.It lasted for twelve days, during which no work could be carried out on the land; when all plants were "dead". We still refer to it as "the dead of Winter".It was more than just a celebration and offering to the Gods.It was also a time of "looking back" at mistakes that had been made; and "looking forward" to a better year.It was the time of "waiting"; for Spring. After Yule, there was a period of "clearing away the rubbish",spreading manure on the land, ploughing the earth. (You must not think of ploughing as it is today.In old times it was extremely hard work!) So then there was a period of rest;thanking the Gods for the work completed, and asking the Gods for a good harvest later in the year.
Then came more, even harder, work. Breaking up the soil "harrowing", ready for planting. And don't forget that all through the year the animals had to be cared for!
The next rest period varied in different parts of Northern Europe,as Winter receded slower in the far North than it did in the South. But the rest period was around the middle of March. Then came the drudgery of weeding, looking after the animals, "feeding" the land with more manure. The next period of rest, was "The Great Feast". Beltane! When Earth Mother gave birth to her daughter Flora "The Queen of The May".(That's May blossom,not the month of May!) When all the world burst into flower. This was the time of music, and singing, and dancing.(And loving!).With much eating and drinking. The time of "fertility". (Even today, children will dance around the "Maypole", with parents not realising that their kiddies are dancing around a phallic symbol!)
More hard work on the land,followed by a rest and an offering to the Gods; Litha.
The next period of rest, and offerings to the Gods, came "in the middle of the year". The animals still had to be cared for, so not much work on the land, apart from perhaps hoeing,and tidying the living areas. This was Lammas; August. But one must remember that in the old days there were no names for the months; only work periods and rest periods!
Now comes the hardest work of the year; harvest. Back breaking work of cutting with a sickle, threshing, and storing the harvest.Then there was a three day rest, blessings, and thanks giving to the Gods. This was known as Mabon; like saying "Phew! Thank the Lord that's over!"
But there was still work to be done.And the work continued, until the leaves started to fall from the trees,the days seemed to be much shorter, the nights colder.It was the coming of Autumn, when the people began to get ready for Winter.A lot of activity during this time. Then a rest period, Samhain. After that, further gathering of crops,fruit,nuts, berries. Sorting out which animals to slaughter for food to last through the Winter. And, we are back to Yule again!
So, how to celebrate as a solitary? Have a drink! Bake some bread. Give thanks to your chosen Deity, for your life, and all the good in it!
Blessings from an old witch!
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Re: Pagan Holidays/Sabbats?
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3

There is a great website that explains the Sabbats in depth at

And for more information both on the history of the Sabbats I'd suggest the following books:

Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon - by Asleen O'Gaea

Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara - by Ashleen O'Gaea

Circle Round - by Starhawk

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Re: Pagan Holidays/Sabbats?
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
Further to my post.Most of the "Sabbats" are the same the world over, one especially, Samhain. (Most witches in England would pronounce it Soween.) But in Western folklore it gets mixed up with Halloween; not quite the same thing. Here in the British Isles, it merely means "the end of Summer". But there are lots of "stories" about it. Not least the Catholic Church teaching of "All Saint's Eve!". In folklore Samhain is the time when it is easier to contact the spirits of the dead. Most European Pagans would consider Samhain the most important Sabbat.
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