Holidays, Blots, and Celebrations
I have been asked many times what the Pagan Christmas is, Pagan Easter, or Pagan Halloween. The truth is that they are really all pagan. I have outlines below what holidays most pagans celebrate, including wiccan holidays. If you have questions, additions, or amendments, please contact me.
Its important to note that these holidays arent bound to only one day and were often celebrated leading up to and after the time. I like to think of it as a rising and falling tide (yuletide). Also not all of these were celebrated everywhere.
- Þorrablot: Þorrablot is a festive holiday celebrated in honor of husbands and fathers. It is held on the first day of Þorri (mid January), in honor of Thor and the winter spirit of Thorri. This holiday is a great opportunity to show your husband or father how much you appreciate them. It is also a time to feast and be merry! There are many traditional foods associated with this holiday, including rams, mutton, and skyr.
- Góublót: Góublót, or “Wife’s Day,” is a holiday celebrated on the first day of Góa (mid February). It’s a time to honor all mothers and wives, and it marks the end of winter.
- Sigrblót: Sigrblót is a special day that marks the beginning of Harpa (mid April) and the ushering in of summer. It’s a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. During this festival, people would make offerings to Freya.
- Mid-Summer: The summer solstice is a time of celebration in many cultures. It is a time to celebrate the light, fertility and music. Dedicated principally to Freyr & Freyja but also to Sól and light elves.
- Alfarblót: the first day of Winter. A winter celebration commemorating the end of the harvest season and honoring the goddess Freya. This holiday was celebrated in the home, with family, and led by the women of the house. It was also a time to remember and give thanks to ancestors, Freyr, Odin, and the elves.
- Jól or Yule: Jól was a festival that took place during and after the winter solstice. It was associated with the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession in which the dead and other supernatural beings rode through the air on horses or in wagons. Jól was also associated with Odin, the god of war and death. He was often portrayed as a wild, unruly figure who led the Wild Hunt.
- Dísablót: Dísablót was a festival that honored all female figures, including the disir (female spirits of protection and fertility), goddesses, ancestors, and other female figures of Norse lore. The exact date of this celebration is unclear; some sources say it was held at the beginning of winter, while others say it was held at the end of winter. It’s possible that the festival was celebrated on both occasions.
There are other celebrations I did not include. If you believe some should be added or amended, reach out!
The eight Celtic Pagan holidays, also known as the Wheel of the Year, are:
- Samhain (October 31): This holiday marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark half of the year. It is a time for honoring ancestors and communicating with the spirit world.
- Yule (December 21): This holiday celebrates the rebirth of the sun and the return of longer days. It is a time for feasting, gift-giving, and spreading joy.
- Imbolc (February 1): This holiday marks the beginning of spring and the first signs of new life. It is a time for purification, renewal, and fertility.
- Ostara (March 21): This holiday celebrates the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature. It is a time for planting and celebrating new beginnings.
- Beltane (May 1): This holiday celebrates the height of spring and the union of the masculine and feminine energies. It is a time for fertility, passion, and love.
- Litha (June 21): This holiday celebrates the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. It is a time for celebration, joy, and abundance.
- Lammas (August 1): This holiday marks the beginning of the harvest season and the first fruits of the year. It is a time for thanksgiving and abundance.
- Mabon (September 21): This holiday celebrates the autumn equinox and the balance of day and night. It is a time for thanksgiving, balance, and harmony.
It’s worth noting that the dates of these holidays may vary slightly depending on the specific tradition or group observing them.
- Yule, Winter Solstice: December 20-23 – Yule is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. For some Wiccans, Yule represents either the beginning or the end of the year. This holiday is all about celebrating the return of light. Yule is when the solar tides turn, and the newborn sun offers a new beginning. It’s a time for renewal and hope.
- Brigid, Imbolc, Candlemas, Imbolg, or Brigid’s Day: February 1 or 2 – Brigid, or Imbolc, is a Pagan festival that celebrates the coming of spring. Wiccans use this time to clean and organize their living spaces, as well as their minds and hearts, in preparation for the season of growth. It’s a time to shake off the winter blues and light the fires of creativity and inspiration.
- Eostar, Spring Equinox, Ostara, or Oestarra: March 20, 21, 22, or 23 – With winter now over, the days are getting longer and spring is on its way. The vernal equinox marks the day when night and day are of equal length, and from now on the days will gradually get longer until summer. This time of year is associated with fertility, birth, and renewal, as the natural world comes back to life after the cold months. So take this opportunity to start something new and watch it grow!
- Beltane, May Eve, Beltaine, Bealtaine, or May Day: April 30 or May 1 – Beltane is a time to celebrate the union of the Goddess and the God. It is an ancient fertility festival that marks the beginning of the planting season. The festival was meant to ensure a good growing season and a bountiful harvest. Beltane is light-hearted and joyful.
- Litha, Summer Solstice, or Midsummer: June 20, 21, 22, or 23 – The summer solstice, or Litha, is the longest day of the year. The light begins to fade into darkness as autumn approaches. This is the time of abundance for wildlife, including people! The holiday is joyous.
- Lughnasad, Lughnasadh, or Lammas: August 1 – Lughnasad is celebrated by modern Wiccans as a time to face their fears, develop their abilities, and take steps to protect themselves. At this time of year, Pagans in ancient times also experienced a mix of hope and fear. They looked forward to a plentiful harvest, but they were also afraid that the harvest wouldn’t be large enough or that they would suffer during the cold months ahead. Lughnasad is a reminder that we can all take steps to improve our situations and protect ourselves from hardship.
- Mabon, Fall Equinox, or Harvest Home: September 20, 21, 22, or 23 – Mabon is a time of balance when the day and night are equal in length. For many people, it coincides with the final harvest of the year. This is a time to give thanks for the beauty and bounty of summer before the desolation of winter sets in. Mabon is also known as Harvest Home or the Autumnal Equinox.
- Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowmas: October 31 or November 1 – For Wiccans, Samhain is the New Year and a very important Sabbat. It’s a time to remember the ancestors, and to celebrate the harvest and all that has been accomplished over the year.
Anthesteria: This holiday was celebrated in ancient Athens in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine, fertility, and theater. It took place in the month of Anthesterion, which corresponds to February in the modern calendar.
Thesmophoria: This was a festival in honor of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, fertility, and the harvest. It was celebrated by women in the month of Pyanepsion, which corresponds to October in the modern calendar.
Thargelia: This holiday was celebrated in the month of Thargelion, which corresponds to May in the modern calendar. It was a time of purification and atonement, and involved the offering of sacrifices to Apollo, the god of prophecy and purification.
Eleusinian Mysteries: These were secret rites that were held in honor of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. They took place every year in the city of Eleusis, and were open to initiates of any social class. The exact dates of the mysteries are not known, but they were probably held in the month of Boedromion, which corresponds to September in the modern calendar.
Kronia: This holiday was celebrated in honor of Cronus, the god of time, and was a time of relaxation and celebration. It was held in the month of Hekatombaion, which corresponds to July in the modern calendar.
Hestiaia: This was a festival in honor of Hestia, the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and domestic life. It was held in the month of Elaphebolion, which corresponds to March in the modern calendar.
Brauronia: This holiday was celebrated in honor of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and childbirth. It took place in the month of Brauros, which corresponds to October in the modern calendar.
Aphrodisia: This festival was held in honor of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality. It took place in the month of Gamelion, which corresponds to January in the modern calendar.
Daphnephoria: This holiday was held in honor of Apollo, and involved a procession in which a young man carried a sacred laurel branch from the temple of Apollo to the city of Thebes. It took place in the month of Daphnephoria, which corresponds to May in the modern calendar.
Pyanepsia: This was a festival in honor of Apollo and Demeter, and involved the offering of first fruits as a sacrifice. It took place in the month of Pyanepsion, which corresponds to October in the modern calendar.