live, worship and celebrate by the changing seasons and lunar
cycles. The year is cyclical, it is like a wheel, revolving from
season to season and year to year, hence the name "Wheel of
the Year". Every year there are eight Wiccan holidays known as Sabbats and there are 12 - 13 Esbats
"lunar holy days" consisting of the new and full
is a brief explanation of the Sabbats as celebrated by Wiccans:
"sow-in" October 31
Also known as
Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, Hallowmass or Day of the Dead,
Samhain is the Wiccan & Witch new year. This is one of the
most important of Sabbats, for we remember those that passed
from the world of the living, to the world of the dead and the
veil separating the two worlds is at it's thinnest.
Solstice) December 21
Winter has covered
the earth and this is a time for the telling of stories, the
sharing of skills and knowledge and the burning of the Yule log.
It is the longest night of the year and Yule trees (where the
idea of the Christmas tree came from) are decorated by Wiccans
and are a symbol of the green, fertile land that will once gain
spring forth with life come spring.
Day or Imbolc) February 1 – 2
Spring is coming,
although winter is still upon the land. Wiccans celebrate
Candlemas by blessing their ritual tools and building a bonfire
to signify the warm sun.
Equinox) March 21
corresponds with the arrival of Spring and is a good time to
prepare for the planting of gardens, flowers, herbs and other
plants. During this time, it is evident that Winter will end
soon, and this is a very joyous occasion. Celebrating fertility,
Wiccans paint eggs, an ancient fertility tradition which was
adopted by Christians in celebrating Easter.
Beltane April 30 -
Beltane, like Samhain,
is an important Sabbat, and one of the most joyous. This is
traditionally a fertility festival, and companions that wish to
make a commitment to each other will hold a Handfasting (like
marriage) to strengthen their commitment with one another.
or Summer Solstice) June 21
This is the longest
day of the year. Everything has been planted, the days are warm,
the animals are prolific and life is good.
The harvest yields
its bounty and a huge feast is prepared. Homemade breads, and
Summer fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Corn dollys are made
from dried corn husks and winter is just around the
Autumnal Equinox) September 21
celebrates the harvest of grain. Winter is closer yet and we
appreciate the last harvests of the year. Wine is also made, as
grapes ripen in some areas during this time. Wiccans celebrate
this season with a feast of grains, apples, and other fruits and
vegetables. The next Sabbat is Samhain, and so the wheel of the
year starts its cycle again.