Unfortunately, almost all of the holiday material we have on this web site is related to the holidays of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year (Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasadh, and Mabon). Non-Wiccan Pagan religions generally have a completely different (and often more complex) set of festivals and holidays. We would love to have material on the holidays of the many non-Wiccan Neo-Pagan religions, but we can't make such material available unless someone writes it for us. You will, however, find links to information showing the complexity of some non-Wiccan holiday systems in the Recon section of our web site. The main thing to remember is that not all Neo-Pagans celebrate the holidays of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year.
- A Non-Wiccan Wheel of the Year
The wheel of the year isn't the same for everybody. Narrowing it down to Ireland, there were four big fire festivals. Everybody knows them Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnassa. Of course, spelling will vary. Wicca has introduced the equinoxes, solstices and a few holidays from other parts of the world into the wheel of the year. Yule is from my perspective the most popular addition. Wicca is a wonderful, beautiful religion, but I am coming from a different perspective.
- Samhain, or Hallows, is the Celtic New Year. It's one of the great sabbats, opposite Beltane in the Wheel of the Year.
If you have Fundamentalist Christians beating on your door, shouting that you are worshipping the "God Samhain" with human sacrifices on this day (or if you are a Christian who has heard these claims and wonder if there is any truth to them), you'll probably want to read Isaac Bonewit's award-winning page on "The Real Origins of Halloween".
- Yule, mundanely known as the Winter Solstice, celebrates the death and rebirth of the Sun.
- Imbolc, also known as Candlemas, celebrates the return of light.
- Ostara, also known as Lady Day or the Spring Equinox, celebrates the return of live to the world and the victory of light over darkness.
- Beltane, also known as May Day, is one of the two great sabbats, opposite Samhain in the Wheel of the Year.
- Midsummer, also known as the Summer Solstice, is a celebration of the Sun's light on the longest day of the year.
- Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is a feast to celebrate the first harvest and to commemorate the
funeral games of the Irish sun-god Lugh.
- Mabon, also known as Harvest Home or the Fall Equinox, is a minor harvest festival.