In many ways Pagan Sabbats are already ingrained in mainstream culture. Halloween, Christmas, Easter and May Day are just a few examples.
What are Pagan Sabbats?
Sabbats are the Pagan version of a sabbath or a day of religious significance. The yearly cycle of the Sun and Moon and the seasons they produce dictates the date of Pagan Sabbats.
The wheel of the year is an eight spoke diagram that represents the eight Pagan sabbats celebrated each year.
Samhain (pronounced Sow-ain) Sabbat is the Pagan new year. It’s held at the close of the harvest season, which occurs in the Southern Hemisphere around 31 April – 1 May. In the Northern Hemisphere it falls on 31 October -1 November. Samhain is Halloween.
We honour our ancestors at Samhain and those around us who have passed on to the spirit world.
Yule occurs on the longest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere this is usually 21 June, whereas in the Northern Hemisphere it coincides with Christmas.
Yule is a time for connecting with our families, lighting candles or decorating the house with lights to celebrate the return of the sun.
Imbolc marks the end of Winter and is celebrated on 1 August. It’s a reminder to prepare for the planting season (Spring) and it marks the beginning of the most fertile time of year.
Imbolc is a great sabbath for rituals that concern relationships – romantic or platonic.
Ostara is the start of Spring and is celebrated on 21 September. It also coincides with the Spring Equinox. At Ostara we celebrate the emergence of new growth and fertility.
In the Northern Hemisphere it coincides with modern Easter celebrations. The tradition of sharing coloured eggs originated from the Ostara Sabbat. The coloured eggs are a symbol of fertility.
Belane is a celebration of life, love and fire. It is celebrated on 31 October – 1 November in the Southern Hemisphere and is referred to as May Day in the Northern Hemisphere where it falls on 1 May.
Beltane is a traditional time of year for marriages. The tradition of weaving ribbons around a maypole signifies a union and fertility. October is still a popular month for marriages Australia!
Litha is the Pagan Sabbat that celebrates the longest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere it occurs on the Summer Solstice on 21 December.
Litha is an appreciation of the sun and the life it provides to us. It’s a great time to have an Aussie BBQ with friends and family and hang out beside a pool!
Lughnasadh (luna-saa) Sabbat
Lughnasadh is on 2 February each year. It celebrates the beginning of the harvest season. It’s a great time to give thanks for the produce that we eat by cooking a feast, that includes home made bread, and sharing with friends and family.
Mabon occurs in the middle of the harvest season and falls on the Autumn Equinox on 21 March. The Mabon sabbat coincides with the Amercian tradition of Thanksgiving and represents the second harvest celebration. As with Lughnasadh it’s a great time of year to feast with close friends and family.
I hope you’ve found this overview of the Pagan Sabbats interesting. As each of the Sabbats arise during the year I’ll post a more detailed description and a list of activities that you can undertake.