Celebrations: Mabon

The holiday of the autumnal equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druid traditions), is a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three Pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain. Mabon is also known as the “Witches’ Thanksgiving”. Continue reading

Celebrations: Lughnasadh

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Originally it was held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. However, over time the celebrations shifted to the Sundays nearest this date. Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals; along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gwyl Awst and the English Lammas. Continue reading

Celebrations: Litha

Midsummer, also known as St John’s Day, or Litha, is the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the Northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 19 and June 25 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures. The Christian Church designated June 24 as the feast day of the early Christian martyr St John the Baptist, and the observance of St John’s Day begins the evening before, known as St John’s Eve. Continue reading

Celebrations: Beltane

Beltane is the anglicized name for the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Irish the name for the festival day is Lá Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Là Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Laa Boaltinn/Boaldyn. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh—and is similar to the Welsh Calan Mai. Continue reading

Celebrations: Ostara

The spring/vernal equinox, in Germanic traditions often called Ostara, inaugurates the new year on the Zodiacal calendar. From this point on, days are longer than the nights. Many mythologies regard this as the time of rebirth or return for vegetation gods (e.g. Attis) and celebrate the spring equinox as a time of great fertility. Continue reading