Neopagan Holidays

Wiccan Holidays

Wiccans and other Neopagans celebrate holidays and festivals based on nature and the changing of seasons. The Neopagan seasonal cycle, called the Wheel of the Year, consists of eight major Sabbats. The Sabbats are joyous occasions of celebration and festivity.

Like Jewish Shabbats, Neopagan Sabbats begin at sunset the day before the holiday. Four of the Sabbats, known as cross-quarter days, have Celtic origins and are called by their Celtic names. The other four mark important points on the solar calendar.

The eight Sabbats are:

  • February 2 - Imbolc
  • March 21 - Ostara (Spring Equinox)
  • May 1 - Beltane
  • June 22 - Midsummer (Summer Solstice)
  • August 2 - Lughnasadh
  • September 21 - Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
  • November 1 - Samhain
  • December 21 - Yule (Winter Solstice)

Magical work and more solemn rituals are normally done on the Esbats, which mark the phases of the moon. The most important Esbat is on the full moon, but some groups also recognize Esbats of the new moon and the two quarters.

Magical power is believed to be especially strong on the night of a full moon, which is why important rituals are undertaken on such nights.

Also see:

  • Satanism
  • The Occult

  • Imbolc

    The Pagan holiday of Imbolc (pronounced "im'olk" and also spelled Oimelc) falls on February 1/2 and marks the midpoint of winter. The name comes from an Irish word meaning either "in the belly," with reference to winter food stores, or "ewe's milk" (oímelc), with reference to the lambing season...

  • Ostara

    Ostara is a Pagan festival celebrated on the spring equinox, which is between March 19 and March 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. On the spring and fall equinoxes, day and night are of equal lengths...