Pagan Holidays

Winter

Yule (Dec 20-23) - Winter Solstice.  Yule is the time of greatest darkness - the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is also associated with the rebirth of the Sun and Light. The solstice marks the beginning of the Solar new year.

Imbolc (Feb 2nd) - End of winter.  A day to celebrate the first glimpses of Spring It is also dedicated to the Celtic Goddess Brigid. Time for spring cleaning and new starts. Traditions: Burning fires and candles, cleaning, making a bed for Brigid.  Also celebrated as Groundhog Day.

Spring

Ostara (March 19-22) - Vernal Equinox.  The first true day of Springtide. The days and nights are now equal in length, with the days getting longer and warmer. A good time to plant the seeds of long-term goals. Eggs and bunnies symbolize new birth and new life.

Beltaine (May 1st) - End of spring.  Beltane is a celebration of fertility, growth, love and passion. The Land is ripe and fertile. The focus is on joy and happiness. Traditions: Dancing around the May Pole, lighting bonfires.  Also celebrated as May Day.

Summer

Litha (June 19-23) - Summer Solstice. The days of the first harvesting of herbs as the Earth now begins to share her bounty. This is the longest day and the shortest night; it is traditionally celebrated by a fire festival. The season between the planting and the harvest, June is also the "traditional" month in the West for handfastings and weddings.

Lughnasadh (Aug 1st) - End of summer.  The First Harvest. Plants are 'setting their seed" already for the next year as the cycle of Nature continues. The spring-plantings are beginning to come to fruition. Much of the symbolism for Lammas revolves around grains and bread. Traditions: Bread baking, making corn dollies.

Autumn

Mabon (Sept 21-24) - Autumn Equinox. The Second or Continuing Harvest. The days and nights are equal once again, gardens are in full bloom and heavy with nature's bounty, and the weather grows colder as winter approaches. Traditions: Making and drinking of wine, Rituals of thanks and sharing with the less fortunate.

Samhain (Nov 1st) - End of autumn. The Last Harvest. Festival marking the transformation of life to death - the end of the agricultural year, departure of migrating and hibernating animals, and decay and death of vegetal and animal life. Observed by remembering departed ancestors and contemplating one's own mortality. Samhain marks the end of the Pagan year.  Also celebrated as Halloween.

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Acknowledgments

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