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Beltaine In The Park, 1999
Balboa Park, San Diego, California


The following are the eight sabbats of the year.  Here they are in their Celtic names, but in the descriptions I have included some other common names for them.

Imbolic, February 1st or 2nd
Ostara, March 21st or 22nd
Beltaine, April 30th or May 1st
Midsummer, June 21st or 22nd
Lughnassadh, August 1st or 2nd
Mabon, September 21st or 22nd
Samhain, October 31st
Yule, December 21st or 22nd


Imbolic/Candlemas/Imbolgc Brigantia/Lupercus/Candelaria/Imbolg
Celebrated on either February 1st or 2nd this is the first of the Three Spring Fertility Festivals.  It is a time to welcome a change from the old to the new as we banish the cold winter season.  A fertility sabbat, we celebrate things that have not yet been born.

Lavender and white candles are often associated with this holiday.  Also, you can take three ears of corn (best if different colors to represent the different aspects of the Triple Goddess) which you could have collected around Samhain and hang them outside your door at Imbolic for wealth and protection.  Keep them there until the day Mabon (Autumn Equinox) and then bury them in the garden.



Ostara/Spring (Vernal) Equinox/Alban Eiler
This Sabbat is celebrated on either March 21st or 22nd (first day of spring).  As the Second of the Three Spring Fertility Festivals it is a time for Balance and Fertility.  This holiday was named after the goddess Ostara whose symbols are the rabbit and the egg.  In the Caledonii Tradition the warrior aspect of the God is honored.

Traditionally eggs are colored and placed on the altar as magickal talismans.  You can also decorate the altar with lots of spring flowers as well as colors of light green, lemon yellow, and pale pink.  This is also a good time to bless seeds for future plantings so they grow well.  Twisted bread and cakes are prepared to be served at dusk.  I've also heard another tradition where one can eat breakfast at sunrise with the family.



Beltaine/Beltane/Mayday/Walburga/Rudemas/Festival of Tana/Bealtinne
This holiday is celebrated on May 1st or May 5th depending on what trad you practice.  This is the last of the Three Spring Festivals and the divine union of the Mother Goddess and the Father God is honored.  This time they mate and from their love all living things are created.  This is traditionally symbolized with the Maypole.  A long pole (a phallic symbol) stretches from the sky (God) into the earth (Goddess).  Men and women dance around it in opposite directions creating a woven design with colorful ribbons.  A wreath (cervix symbol) is thrown over the top and slides down.  It is said that if a pregnant woman is part of the ceremony, then she may bring fertility to the other women in the circle.

The Druids believe that a child born on Beltaine is blessed from the gods.  It is also believed the same of a child who is conceived on this holy day.  Also, a lot of people choose Beltaine as a day to either have a handfasting (marriage) or a wiccaning (blessing/naming ceremony).  This is also a time to prepare oneself for the warm months to come.

Ribbons of bright blue, lavender, warm pink, lemon yellow, and white are excellent for decorations.  Traditionally though red and white are used.  They represent the blood (red) that flows from a woman when she is deflowered (purity, white).  Floating candles and flowers are also excellent decorations.  Hang flowers that are freshly picked on the front door and use them to adorn the altar and circle.  Later, place them around the perimeter of the house for protection.  Also, you may find a tree that is your favorite and decorate it with ribbons and bows.



Midsummer/Summer Solstice/Midsummer Night's Celebration/Alban Hefin
This sabbat is celebrated on either June 21st or 22nd (depending on which one the solstice falls on).  This is a time to honor the Sun God and is a holiday of Passion and Success.  Money spells are perfect for this time of year.  Some people also use this time to commune with forest spirits and faeries.

It's a good idea to use altar candles of gold and red (representing the fire of the sun).  Also, Sunflowers and any flower of red, gold, or yellow are good decorations for the altar and home.



Lughnassadh/Lammas/Cornucopia/Thingtinde
Traditionally celebrated on August 1st some traditions will celebrate it on the 7th.  This is the first of the Three Harvest Festivals and has been referred to as The Pagan Thanksgiving and is a Sabbat that honors the Sun God.

Decorate the altar with the first rewards of your garden.  Bake bread, and prepare for the fall months.  This is also a good time to harvest herbs for magickal use before the cold winter months come.



Mabon/Autumn Equinox/Alban Elfed/Winter Finding (spans from the equinox till October 15th)
This holiday is celebrated on either September 21st or 22nd and is the second of the Three Harvest Festivals.  Use brown, orange, gold, and red candles on your altar.  Altar cloths can be made of autumn designs.  You can also paraffin autumn leaves and place them around the home.  This is a time to harvest corn and other foodstuffs.  Corn bread and cider are excellent for use in the celebrations.



Samhain/Halloween/Shadofest/Martinmas/Witches' New Year
This famous sabbat is celebrated on October 31st and is the last of the Three Harvest Festivals.  At this time the veil between the worlds is thinnest and the dead are honored in the celebrations.  One can commune with their ancestors or friends and family who have died.  Traditionally, a place is set at the dinner table for those who you know how have gone.  This is also a great time for divination.

Decorate the altar and home with pumpkins and golden yellow flowers like mums.  You can even place a jack-o lantern outside your door to "scare away the evil spirits".  Black candles are also burned to ward off negativity.  Another color associated with Samhain is orange.

Samhain was also a time that was considered the "Day Between The Years" with the Celtic calendar ending on October 30th and beginning on November 1st.



Yule/Yuletide/Winter Solstice/Feill Fionnain/Alban Arthan
This fire festival is celebrated on December 21st or 22nd (depending on what day the solstice is).  This is a time when the Waxing Sun overcomes the Waning Sun.  Thus, the Sun God is honored at this solar festival.  He is seen as the Holly King (representing the death aspect of the God) who is overcome by the Oak King (who represents the rebirth of the God and is sometimes referred to as the Divine Child).

At this time use bayberry candles throughout the home for wealth and happiness.  Holly (a plant sacred to the Druids) can be placed all over in wreaths and as decoration on the altar.  The reindeer stag is also a representation of the Horned God at this time.

Teutonic tradition celebrates Yuletide from December 20th through December 31st, which is where the "Twelve Days of Christmas" comes from.  In most Traditions, a Yule Tree is decorated and then lit when the Yule log is burned.  The Yule log is wished upon in the ritual.  Carvings are sometimes made into it as one makes a wish.  After the circle the log is added to the Yule fire.  As it burns the wishes are sent out towards their goal.  The next year, a piece of this log will be used to light that Yule Fire.  This piece is kept in the home all year until then and will protect it.  Also, gifts are traditionally given to one another at this time.