There are 8 Wiccan holidays; they begin on the 31st October with Samhain. This is also the beginning of the Wiccan year. Four of the Wiccan Holidays mark the seasons and the others mark the mid seasons.
The Wiccan holidays mark different things and have colours, herbs, stones, foods, symbols and incense attached to them. Wiccan holidays are celebrated by those of the pagan religions and without realising perhaps so do Christians. Samhain is essentially Halloween although when celebrated properly by pagans there is a lot more involved than Halloween as we know it. Wiccan holidays all have different meanings. Samhain means “End of Summer” this is the third and final harvest. This Sabbat is known as the Wiccan New Year.
The names of Wiccan holidays are often similar to Christian festivals such as the second holiday of the Wiccan year; Yule. The celebration of theses Wiccan holidays coincide with the Christmas holidays. Many of the traditions of the pagan festival Yule are still used today in Christmas celebrations such as having a yule log, hanging up miseltoe and having holly decorating the inside of the home. Although the use and meaning of them has changed for those that are not Wiccan. Yule is the winter solstice.
Wiccan holidays throughout the year have specialised meanings and this is no different with the next; Imbolc is the festival of lactating sheep and is one of the Wiccan holidays that Christians do not celebrate. To pagans though it signifies new life.
Wiccan holidays often influence the Christian religion. These next Wiccan holidays are prime examples of this. Ostara is the spring or vernal equinox. It is the time when everything is very fertile there is new growth and lots of newborn animals. The Christian religion adopted the egg and the rabbit as symbols of the Easter holidays which falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox.
Belthan which is traditionally May day is one of those Wiccan holidays that people think is part of the Christian calendar a lot of our traditions come from these Wiccan holidays. This festival signifies the god and goddess coming together. In old Celtic traditions Belthan was a time of great promiscuity but this is rarely observed today. People would dance around the may pole.
Litha is one of the Wiccan holidays that is the complete opposite of another one; Yule. This is mid-summer and it is the time when light and life are abundant. Midsummer Night’s Eve is a special time for people following the Faerie faith. This is the summer solstice.
All of the Wiccan holidays centre round the earth and the sun and the Sabbat of Lughnasodh is no different it is a time when Wiccan’s celebrate the first harvest of the year. It recognises that the hot summer days will come to an end and as autumn begins the Sun God enters his old age.
The last of the Wiccan holidays is Mabon. This is the Autumn equinox which divides the day and night equally. At this time Wiccans celebrate the aging goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone and her consort the god as he prepares for death and re-birth.
To followers of the pagan religions these Wiccan holidays are a very important. They signify magical times and have many meanings. Many who follow these rituals believe in the power that each particular holiday holds. Wiccan holidays are very interesting times and as shown throughout this piece a lot of Christian holidays have their roots firmly planted in these Wiccan holidays.
Wheel of Life