Holidays & Festivals
The Holidays and Festivals section is dedicated to adding significance to the gradual passage of time by celebrating the major milestones with joy and reverence. We also pay special attention to the everyday miracles in our world to bring wonder and magic to each passing moment.
Practitioners of many nature-centric religions follow a special calendar called the "Wheel of the Year" to keep time with the very pulse of our planet. As the Earth goes around the Sun, our seasons change and the length of each day gets longer or shorter. At the bleakest point of winter we arrive at a day when the amount of sunlight is at its minimum; a very dark and cold time known as the Winter Solstice. There is another point in the middle of Summer when the exact opposite happens and we have the longest day of the year called the Summer Solstice. Between these two extremes there are two other special days when the hours of sunlight and darkness are exactly the same. This equal distribution occurs at Vernal (or Spring) Equinox and Autumnal (or Fall) Equinox.
The sequence of the seasons corresponds to four holidays:
- Winter Solstice - Yule
- Vernal Equinox - Ostara
- Summer Solstice - Midsummer
- Autumnal Equinox - Mabon
These major quarters make up the four major "spokes" in the Wheel of the Year. Midway between each of these major points are four cross-quarter points. Between Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox, about the beginning of February in the Northern Hemisphere, is a holiday called Imbolc (also called Candlemas). Between Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice, on or about the beginning of May in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a holiday called Beltane. Between Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox, near the beginning of August in the Northern Hemisphere, is a holiday called Lammas (also called Lughnasadh). And finally, between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice, near the end of October in the Northern Hemisphere is a holiday called Samhain (also called Halloween), making a total of eight spokes in the complete wheel of the year.
- Yule (Dec 19-23 Winter Solstice)
- Imbolc (Feb 1-2 Candlemas)
- Ostara (Mar 19-23 Vernal Equinox)
- Beltane (May 1st "May Day")
- Midsummer (Jun 19-23 Summer Solstice)
- Lammas (Aug 1-2 Lughnasadh)
- Mabon (Sep 19-23 Autumnal Equinox)
- Samhain (Oct 31-Nov 2 Halloween)
The Holidays and Festivals section of this web site contains an automatic Wheel Calendar that is set to your individual location as defined by your personal profile. We also provide you with some great rituals, recipes, crafts and community events that you can participate in to fully celebrate every season.
To get started, take a look at the current position of the Wheel today and then click on it to jump to the appropriate section in our holiday guide.