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January 4th, 2006

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01:27 pm - Sabbaths (and Equinox's)
These are the dates for the Southern Hemisphere.

Lughnasad - February 2nd (also called Lammas)
Originating from the Celtic Sun God, Lugh, who presided over the first grain harvest of the year.

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the God gradually loses his strength. Bread is baked in honour of the first reapings of the grain harvest in his honour. In fact Lammas means "loaf-mass" in old Anglo-Saxon.

Mabon - March 20th
Named after a Welsh fertility God, Mabon, and marks the Autumn Equinox.

It is a time when night and day are equal in length again and when the harvest is nearing completion. The God nears his death and the Goddess prepares for his rebirth. The bounty of the harvest is celebrated in wine festivals, knowing that soon Winter will bring uncertainty.

Samhain - April 30th (commenly known as Halloween or All Hallows Eve) Samhain comes from the Irish-Gaelic word "samhraidhreadh", which means "the summer's end". This point on the calender was marked when the ancient standing stones in the British Isles measured the sun at it's lowest point on the horizon.

As winter nears, the God approaches his death. The Goddess though prepares for his rebirth and there is both sorrow and happiness. Animals were culled to ensure a supply of food and remaining crops were left fallow for winter the winter months. It is often said that the veil between life and death is thinnest as a result of death of the God, the animals and plants. Wiccans recognise though that death is not final and that from it renews life again. Samhain is therefore a celebration of life over death as well as a time to remember those who have passed into a new life.

Yule - June 21st
Yule is from Old Norse which means "wheel" as it is a symbol that the year has turned. Falling on a Solstice, it marks the start of the New Year in Norse and Roman times.

At Yule, the God is traditionally born by the Goddess, a divine birth. This is time of the year when the day is short and the night is long. Candles are lit to welcome back the returning light of the sun ahead. The Sun, a symbol of the God, renews itself from the dark, symbol of death. In Pagan lore, this is the time when the Oak King (a symbol of divine rebirth) overpowers the Holly King (a symbol of death). Celebrated items for Yule include the decorated evergreen tree, the Yule Log, and the exchange of gifts.

Imbolc - August 1st (also called Candlemas)
Originated in Ireland as a holy day for Brigid, the Great Mother Goddess, who was in the form of a bride for the returned Sun God.

After giving birth of the God, the Goddess awakens from her recovery by the lengthening days of light. The Earth begins to feel this warmth, marking a return to the months of Spring. Imbolg is also a festival of Fires, to symbolise the coming return of life and the replenished powers of the Sun. In Some Wicca covens, it is also a traditional time for initiations.

Ostara - September 23rd
Named after an ancient virgin Germanic Goddess of Spring, this falls on the Spring Equinox.

As the God walks across the face of the Earth, the Goddess finally shrugs of her sleep. The days and nights are now of equal length, the light blanketing the Earth with fertility. It is now a time to sow spells for your future. Symbols of Ostara include eggs and rabbits.

Beltane - November 1st (also known as May Day - a reflection from the Northern Hemisphere that doesn't quite work in the Southern Hemisphere)
Beltane falls opposite Samhain on the Wheel of the Year. It is likely to come from the Irish word for balefire. It is of equal importance as Samhain on the Wicca calender.

The young God now matures into manhood. Union and love between the Goddess and God is marked by the Great Rite. Symbols of Beltane include the cauldron (Goddess) and May Pole (God).

Litha - December 22nd (also called Midsummer)
The Summer Solstice, Litha comes from the Romans, as a holiday to mark the powers of the Sun God at his greatest.

The Goddess too is also at the height of her powers during the longest day of the year. Bonfire's representing the Sun, were lit to rouse love, purification, health, and fertility. Some witches believe that this day is the best for working magic.


information gathered from here
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