The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern Pagans. It consists of either four or eight festivals: either the solstices and equinoxes, known as the “quarter days”, or the four midpoints between, known as the “cross quarter days”; some traditions like Wicca often celebrate all eight festivals.
The festivals celebrated by differing sects of modern Paganism can vary considerably in name and date. Observing the cycle of the seasons has been important to many people, both ancient and modern, and many contemporary Pagan festivals are based to varying degrees on folk traditions.
The precise dates on which festivals are celebrated are often flexible. Dates may be on the days of the quarter and cross-quarter days proper, the nearest full moon, the nearest new moon, or the nearest weekend for secular convenience. The festivals were originally celebrated by peoples in the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Consequently, the traditional times for seasonal celebrations do not agree with the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere or near the equator. Pagans in the Southern Hemisphere often advance these dates by six months to coincide with their own seasons.
Wheel of the Year
- Yule – Winter Solstice – December 20 – 22
- Imbolc – Groundhog’s Day – February 2
- Ostara – Vernal Equinox – March 20 – 22
- Beltane – May Day – May 1
- Litha – Summer Solstice – June 20 – 22
- Lamas – Harvest Celebration – August 1
- Mabon – Autumn Equinox – September 20 – 22
- Samhain – Halloween – October 31
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