What are the Sabbats?
The Sabbats are 8 festivals that are commonly observed by witches, especially those who follow a Pagan path. Together, these festivals create the Wheel of the Year. Below we have included a brief description of each celebration, as there are many ways to celebrate and honour each turning of the wheel.
Samhain 31st October/1st November
This is the last of the three harvesting Sabbats and it is the final part of the pagan year, but can also be considered the start of our New Year. As it is the festival of the dead, we honour our ancestors on this Sabbat. We may do this by holding a big feast during Samhain, leaving spaces at the table for loved ones, who have passed on, to join us. The veil is at its thinnest at this time and so divination is often practised at this time. It is not the commercial annual trick or treat feast, but an ancient rite. It is also the festival of the dead.
Yule – December 20th-23rd
This is the Sabbat for celebrating the rebirth of the Sun and the return of the Oak King. It is the shortest day and longest night. This time of year tends to be cold, bleak and dull. At Yule we dress the Yule log and also bring nature into out hearth and home. Yule has a very long and ancient history. Bringing it up to modern times it can be celebrated in many ways, feasting, merriment, and rest for the coming year.
Imbolc – February 1st/2nd
This Sabbat celebrates the return of spring. Snowdrops begins to appear, and the Earth begins to thaw after her long winter slumber. Depending on where you are, you will see the first signs of growth in the ground. It’s a time to do litter and spiritually cleanse too. It’s a time for change and growth.
Ostara – March 20th-23rd
This Sabbat celebrates the coming time of fertility. New born lambs, chicks and the birth of the earth, literally blooming. Ostara brings hope and lighter days. Eostre the goddess is depicted with the hare and a basket of eggs. All celebrations of life cycles.
Beltane May 1st/2nd
This Sabbat focuses on fertility. Many Pagans choose to conceive children at this time, it’s a time when offerings are made to the deities and fire are lit to honour the ancient gods, gatherings are often high filled energy, with plenty of dancing and bonfires. We also have Maypole dancing to increase the chances of fertility.
Litha – June 20th – 23rd
A Sabbat for celebrating the longest day of the year, as well as for mourning the shortening days after. Some Witches burn bonfires or light candles to represent the Sun. it’s a time for celebrating successful crops and thanking the deities for their abundance.
Lammas/Lughnasadh – August 1st
This is the first of the three harvesting Sabbats. These are the festivals of grain and bread. People make jams, cakes and gingerbread during this time. It’s a time to gather in the first of the winters harvest in preparation. As above so below, and the same for harvesting we harvest the above ground crops first during Lughnasadh.
Mabon – September 20th – 23rd
This is the second of the three harvesting Sabbats. We can feel the nights drawing in. It’s a time to gather the next batch of food that will sustain during the next few months of darkness. Witches give thanks to the Earth and the harvest. Celebrators will make and drink wine at this time.