I love the holidays! Everyone celebrates the Wiccan holidays in a different way, so feel free to put your own personal stamp on these. Below is just a basic overview to get you started.
Also, you’ll notice many similarities between these occasions and Christian celebrations. This is by design. The church incorporated some of these celebrations and “Christianized” them in order to bring more followers into the fold.
Wicca is a nature-based religion, so the holidays are rooted in the seasons of the year. There are many Wiccan holidays or Sabbats and some are more well-known than others. The Wheel of the Year includes eight major celebrations.
Please note, many of these dates are flexible due to the solstice, which is never the same from year to year. Since Wicca doesn’t follow the Gregorian calendar, we start in October, rather than January, because it’s the Wiccan New Year.
Samhain (October 31st)
During Samhain we celebrate the final harvest. This holiday is also strongly associated with a symbolic death, since the Wheel of the Year is rooted in the earth. Summer has come to an end, and its time for the earth to go cold and barren.
This is when the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. This is probably why Halloween is associated with ghosts and goblins. In Latin cultures, The Day of the Dead honors friends and family members who have passed away.
Samhain is the Wiccan New Year. It’s time to take stock of the previous year and make plans for the future.
Yule (December 21st)
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and consequently, the longest night of the year. It is a time to gather with friends and family members, and show our love for them.
You’ll find many of the practices familiar, like decorating a tree to celebrate growth and rebirth.
Slowly, we are making our way back to the warmth and sunshine of spring. From here on out, the days will get warmer and longer.
Imbolc (February 1st)
Spring is on the horizon. We’ve made it through the coldest part of the year, and the world is beginning to renew itself. This Sabbat is an excellent time to begin something new.
This celebration also coincides with the secular holiday, Groundhog Day, when the creature supposedly lets the world know if there will be an early spring or six more weeks of winter.
This is a fantastic time for spring cleaning and bringing in new energy.
Ostara (March 21st)
There are more hours of daylight now and Spring has finally sprung. This holiday is about fertility, rebirth, and the return to warmer temperatures. The title of this Sabbat comes from Eostre, the Goddess of Spring and it’s where we get the term Easter.
If you think about the symbols of Easter like rabbits and ducklings, it’s all about fertility.
Beltane (May 1st)
Summer is beginning and this is an earthy celebration of love and sex. It’s warm and the Earth is thriving once more, and vibrant with life.
This Sabbat has been incorporated into the secular holiday, May Day, where people dance around the Maypole.
Litha (June 21st)
This is also known as Midsummer and it’s a celebration of sunshine and warmth. Crops are beginning to come in from the fields and it’s a time of abundance. The earth is vibrantly alive. Food is plentiful and life is much easier.
Fires are often associated with pagan holidays. They’re sometimes called “fire festivals” and it symbolizes fertility and purification. So, this is the perfect time for a backyard bonfire.
Lammas (August 1st)
This is the beginning of the harvest season. This holiday is strongly associated with baking bread. The crops have matured, so wheat, corn, and other grains are ready for harvest. Check out my Lammas Altar and Lammas rituals.
Mabon (September 21st)
This is the autumn equinox and the days will get colder and shorter until we reach Yule. This is the second harvest festival. Most of the crops are done for the year. The days are growing shorter and colder. Soon, winter will be upon us.
What’s your favorite holiday? Or which do you find the most interesting?