Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wiccan Holidays

Since I mentioned the holiday yesterday, I thought that this would be a good time to talk about the rest of them as well. There are 8 major holidays in Wicca, 4 “Greater” Sabbats and 4 “Lesser” Sabbats. The Lesser Sabbats occur on the days most people know as the Solstices and the Equinoxes. The Greater Sabbats are seasonal. Here a list of the holidays. I have put them in this order based on where Wiccans think their New Year’s falls. Some Wiccans say that the start of their year is at Samhain. Again, it depends on your tradition.

At first I wasn’t going to include the mention of colors as corresponding to the holidays, but then I was thinking about how holidays in other religions often have a color or colors associated with them. I have also included a link to writings about each of the holidays so you can read more about them. The link is the holiday name at the beginning of the paragraph.

While I am depending on the web and books for the source of my information, some of the holidays may have different dates or associations depending on the tradition.

Yule - Dec 21; Also called the Winter Solstice and Sun Return; Colors are red, gold and green. Some symbols are evergreen trees, the Yule log, holly and spinning wheels. This is a time of renewal and rebirth (especially associated with the Sun God) and the return of the sun.

Imbolc - Feb 2; Called The Festival of Lights and Candlemas; Colors are white, green, and/or blue, and sometimes pink (in different combinations depending on the tradition). Symbols are candles, a sun wheel, and grain dollies. This holiday is about encouraging the sun’s return and honoring the virgin Goddess.

Ostara - March 21; Also known as Spring/Vernal Equinox; The start of spring; Color is White and all pastel colors. Some symbols are the new moon and butterflies.

Beltane - May 1; Also called May Day; Colors are white, dark yellow and green. Some symbols of this holiday are eggs, flowers, rabbits and the may pole. This holiday is also associated with fertility. From a website I found - “Weaving and plaiting are traditional arts at this time of year, for the joining together of two substances to form a third is in the spirit of Beltane.”

Midsummer - June 21; Also called Litha; Colors are blue, green, gold and tan. Some symbols of this holiday are fire, the sun, summer birds, horses and the oak tree. This holiday is for honoring the sun/God at the peak of his power in the yearly cycle. It is tradition to leap over a fire for purification and renewed energy.

Lammas- August 1; Also called Lughnasadh. Colors are red, gold, yellow, and orange. Some symbols of this holiday are grains and the full moon. This is a time to honor parenting deities and celebrate the first harvest. Visits to fields or orchards are traditional on this holiday.

Mabon - September 21; Also called Fall Equinox and Second Harvest; Colors are brown, gold and maroon. Symbols are grapes, wine, horn of plenty, and garland. This is a time to celebrate the harvest and balance in life and death.

Samhain - October 31; Also called Halloween, Hallowmas and Day of the Dead. Colors are black, orange and red. Symbols are jack-o-lanterns, fires, masks, and the waning moon. This is the time to celebrate reincarnation and reflect on the year. It is also a time to honor our ancestors.

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