Hi All, Several friends have ask about the holidays in the Celtic year..
So I have listed them below with a brief explanation..
Hope this helps..
Sabbats are Pagan holidays. The new year begins after Samhain
( Halloween) according to the Celtic almanac.
- Yule, (Winter Solstice) approximately 21 December - Longest night of the year, various methods of celebrating, most involve some form of lights .Celebrants light candles (indoors), ignite bonfires. Yule marks the longest night of the year -- the triumph of the dark half of the year. Night and darkness have reached their apex and the Wheel turns to restore balance. The dawn heralds the return of the sun, bringer of light, warmth, and growth. In the days following Yule, the sun’s power grows steadily, encroaching upon the night, pushing back the darkness.
- Imbolc, (Candlemas) 2 February -. Imbolc celebrates the earliest signs of Spring ... the blossoming of the earliest flowers (in some climates snowdrops and crocus appear around this time), the first signs of thawing. At this time the sap begins to rise in the trees. The seeds which slumbered at Yule begin to germinate. It is the “quickening” of the Year.
- Ostara, (Spring Equinox) approximately March 21st Ostara marks the first day of Spring. It is a celebration of the awakening of the Earth. Ostara marks the first day of Spring. It is a celebration of the awakening of the Earth. All around us, the Earth reveals Her vitality ... in the soft haze of first greening, in the swelling of buds, in the song of the robin. The seeds within the soil have sprouted and are pushing out into the sunlight. Likewise, within us it is time for the seeds we have nurtured since Yule to come into the light and begin to flourish. It is a time of new beginnings, the freshness of dawn. The Earth is young again and so are we. In the Greek myth, Persephone returns from the Underworld to be welcomed in joy by Her mother Demeter, who decks the world in Springtime as a celebration. Now is an ideal time for planting, or for decking your home or altar with flowers. Many people bless the seeds for their gardens on this day.
- Beltane, (Walpurgisnacht/May Day) 30 April-1 May – Beltane is the last of three Spring festivals. Spring is in its fullest expression; fertility and life is all around us. Traditionally this was a time for blessing the fields and the animals to promote fertility and abundance. Also known as May Day.
- Litha, (Summer Solstice/Midsummer's Night) approximately 21 June - Longest day of the year Midsummer is the counter-point to Yule on the Wheel of the Year. It is the longest day -- the triumph of the light half of the Year. When the sun has reaches its peak, the Wheel turns to restore balance. In the days that follow, the nights will grow longer and longer, the sun’s power slowly waning. Traditionally, the Celts set wheels (as symbols of the sun) on fire and rolled them down the hillsides to celebrate the power of light, and recognize the imminent decline of the sun. Bonfires were lighted and jumped, and the ashes scattered on the fields to bless and fertilize them.
- Lammas, approximately 2 August - Lammas celebrates the first harvesting of crops, the first of three harvest festivals. The Earth yields up Her first gifts to us ... a blessing from the Mother and the product of our human hands. It is a time to celebrate the fruitfulness of the Earth and fruits of our labors. We have sown and nurtured, and now we are reaping the benefits in rhythm with the Earth.
- Mabon, (Autumnal Equinox) approximately 21 Sept. - is the counter-point to Ostara on the Wheel of the Year. It is the first day of Autumn and the second of three harvest festivals. At Mabon, the harvest is at its fullest. This is a time for thanksgiving ... of celebrating the fruits of our labors ... the rich blessings we have received.
- Samhain, (All Hallows Eve) 31 October – Samhain celebrates the final harvest. This is a time to assess the harvest in our lives. To inventory the blessings of the preceding year, and to take stock of the abundance in our lives, trusting that these blessings will sustain us through difficult or less fruitful times.