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Festivals. Wiccan Festivals Pagan Festivals

(Wiccan & Celtic)

Yule
Approx. Dec 21

Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, Alban Arthan

Psychic white lily
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, holly, myrrh, cinnamon,

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. This
one of the four principal festivals of the Wiccan calendar, celebrated either at the beginning of February or at the first local signs of Spring. Originally dedicated to the goddess Brigid, in the Christian period it was adopted as St Brigid's Day.  
Traditions: Burning fires and candles, cleaning, making a bed for Brigid
For the Celts, Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season when the herds of livestock were driven out to the summer pastures and mountain grazing lands. In modern Irish, Mí na Bealtaine ('month of Bealtaine') is the name for the month of May. The name of the month is often abbreviated to Bealtaine, with the festival day itself being known as Lá Bealtaine. The lighting of bonfires on Oidhche Bhealtaine ('the eve of Bealtaine') on mountains and hills is important at this time.
Correspondences: carnation, rosemary, chamomile, milk

Ostara
Approx. March 21

Spring Equinox, Lady Day
This is another 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, vanilla

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
Lughnasadh marked the beginning of the harvest season, the ripening of first fruits, and was traditionally a time of community gatherings, market festivals, horse races and reunions with distant family and friends. Among the Irish it was a favoured time for handfastings - trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.

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.

The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the 'festival of the dead' took place on Samhain.

The night of Samhain, in Irish, Oíche Shamhna and Scots Gaelic, Oidhche Shamhna, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and falls on the 31st of October. It represents the final harvest. In modern Ireland and Scotland, the name by which Halloween is known in the Gaelic language is still Oíche/Oidhche Shamhna. It is still the custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night

Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, and decide which animals would need to be slaughtered in order for the people and livestock to survive the winter. This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock

Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the primary unit of currency and the centre of agricultural and pastoral life. Samhain was the traditional time for slaughter, for preparing stores of meat and grain to last through the coming winter. The word 'bonfire', or 'bonfire' is a direct translation of the Gaelic tine cnámh. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires for good luck and prosperity.

Divination, usually involving apples and nuts, is a common folkloric practice that has also survived in rural areas. The most common uses were to determine the identity of one's future spouse, the location of one's future home, and how many children a person might have. Children would also chase crows and divine some of these things from the direction the birds flew.
Traditions: Divination, honouring the dead, carving Jack o' Lanterns
Correspondences: pumpkins, apples, sage, mugwort

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