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The Eight Festivals

YuleSamhainMabonLughnasadhLithaImbolcOstaraBeltane
The Wheel of the YearThe Wheel of the Year

The eight festivals that mark the cycle of the year are introduced collectively in the Wheel of the Year, and each festival can be explored individually by clicking any of the festival images above or the names below. Details are for the northern hemisphere; below the equator, dates that are opposite each other on the wheel of the year can be swapped, so Litha is celebrated around 21st December and Lughnasadh on 1st February, for example.

Each entry contains the festival's various names, usual date of observance (approximate for the movable solar festivals) and corresponding Christian Holy Days. The Christian church cleverly co-opted the celebrations of those they wished to convert, so all of the festivals have an equivalent Christian festival, usually around the same time and honoring the same concepts (though some dates have drifted due to calendar changes). Also detailed is how the festival fits into the natural cycle of the year - the changing of the seasons and the ebbing and flowing of darkness and light - along with further information about the festival's origin, naming, associated customs and its assumption into the calendar of the Christian church.

While aspects of myth related to the origin and observance of each festival are mentioned in the individual discussions, a more holistic overview of some of the major myths is given in Festival Myth Cycles, where myth cycles are related directly to the cycle of the festivals.

The Mystical Calendar
The Eight Festivals:     Yule   -   Imbolc   -   Ostara   -   Beltane   -   Litha   -   Lughnasadh   -   Mabon   -   Samhain