explained and listed
Wiccan Holidays are shown via the graphic to the left of the page, which is called: The Wheel of the Year. Typically, those practicing Wicca will celebrate all eight of the festivals shown on the wheel, however some practitioners only practice four of them. Since I practice all eight, I will explain each of them in turn below.
Wheel of the Year
Known as the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere, the Yule’s date varies between December 20th and December 23rd based on what year the Gregorian Calendar is. Yule is a very important Wiccan Holiday because it symbolizes the rebirth of the sun (light) and the ebbing of darkness. It also symbolizes life and fruitfulness because with longer days, come increased crop growth.Typically, Yule is celebrated by feasting, gift giving, and showing appreciation for the things you have been blessed with in your life.
Also known as St. Bridgets Day, Imbolc typically occurs on February 1st or 2nd, and symbolizes new beginnings. In the old world, Imbolc is the traditional lambing season, and is therefore also known to some as Oimelc, which means “milk of ewes”. Many who practice farming use this time to consecrate their tools and bless their seeds.
When Spring reaches its most mid point, it is said that night and day are now perfectly balanced, and it marks the beginning of the sun’s dominance. This is a time of growth and fertility, and is celebrated as such.
The next full moon is what is called Ostara, which marks fertility a birth. This is a good time to try to get pregnant, as there are more births during this time.
Beltane is celebrated by many Wiccans as it is one of the eight solar Sabbats. It incorporates many old traditions such as bonfires, feasting, and May pole dancing, as well as focusing primarily on fertility. Some celebrate it on May Day (May 1) and others choose to celebrate on April 30th.
This is the longest day of the year, and stands opposite Yule. It represents life and light, and is considered to be the time that the Sun God is the most powerful. Many practicing Wicca use the day to reaffirm their conviction in old traditions.
Sometimes referred to as Lammas, Lughnasadh is a time used to celebrate the harvest and productivity of the year. It marks the turning point of the seasons where summer will soon turn to winter, and days will become increasingly shorter. Crops are ready to be harvested, and fruits are ripe and ready to pick. Thanks is given for the successes of the summer, and many pray for a forgiving winter.
Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
Representative of a time when day and night are divided equally, Mabon is used to pay respects to, and acknowledge the coming dark. It marks the time when the Mother becomes the Crone, and many Wiccans celebrate by giving thanks to the sunlight.
Samhain (traditionally the beginning of the year)
The name Samhain means “End of Summer” and marks the final harvest, as well as the beginning of the dark half of the year. Although it is usually celebrated on October 31st, some traditions choose to celebrate on November 1st, and many consider it to be the actual start of the year.
Samhain is also one of two nights in which it becomes easier to communicate with spirits, as the veil between our worlds is temporarily lifted.