Wicca is a newly revived religion with roots in pre-Christian religious beliefs, traditions and practices in Europe. Wiccans worship one Supreme Being and its two aspects – male and female – equally. The faith also recognizes many other deities venerated from ancient times. Earth-centered practices and harmony are important beliefs of the faith. Followers believe in Karma (actions with cause and effect) and reincarnation. Many Wiccans are members of covens (local Wicca groups). They gather for worship in sacred circles. Most rituals of the faith relating to life cycle and seasonal changes are held in a circle outdoors when possible. Wiccans celebrate eight Sabbats (seasonal celebrations) spaced 45 days apart during a year. Followers of the Wicca faith follow a yearly cycle of the sun in a fixed calendar.
This day, also called May Eve or May Day, is one of the four major sabbats (seasonal days of celebration) celebrated by Wiccans and is the last day of the spring fertility festivals, when nature is full of life and blooming. Balance between the feminine and masculine tides in the psyche is important on this day. Celebrations include May pole dances and leaping over or walking between bonfires to promote fertility and prosperity.
This day celebrates life's encapsulation as a seed to survive the cold, barren winter and the Harvest of the Vine, which as wine symbolizes the Goddess' power to transform youth's sweet nectar into old age, wisdom, and spiritual maturity.
Also called “Candlemas” or “Bridid’s Day, Imbolc is one of the Sabbats celebrated by Wiccans. It is a celebration of the first signs of spring. Celebrations include candle lighting, stone gathering, snow hiking to search for signs of spring, decorating plows, feasting, and lighting bon fires.
The Spring Equinox is also referred to as Ladyday and is a time of conception and new growth. Followers of Wicca celebrate Spring Equinox with activities that lead to prosperity, such as planting seeds, collecting wild flowers, decorating eggs, and cleaning their houses. Green and yellow are the colours associated with the Spring Equinox.
Also called “Midsummer’s Eve,” Litha takes place on the Summer Solstice, when the sun is at the height of its power – the longest day of the year. This day celebrates the consummation of the sacred marriage when the energy of God is poured out in the service of life, setting the standard of self-giving in service of the Goddess. Followers of Wicca celebrate with feasts which may include berries, veal, new vegetables and honey wine. Homes are decorated with sunflowers during this festival.
The celebration of the grain harvest, the Harvest of First Fruits. Many traditions celebrate Lammas as the funeral of Lugh, the sun God whose strength is visibly waning in late summer.
This day celebrates the Celtic New Year, commemorating the dying God returning to the womb of the Goddess in preparation for rebirth. Followers of the Wicca faith bid farewell to those who have died during the past year. This day is celebrated through feast with family, focusing on love and remembrance. It is believed that the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is the thinnest at this time, and therefore ancestors can join celebrations.
This day marks the New Year in the Anglo-Saxon and northern traditions of Wicca and marks the birth of God as the Winter-born king. This day also celebrates the rebirth of the sun to the earth, and coincides with the longest night of the year. It is a time of leaving regrets in the past and awakening to new goals. Yule is celebrated by fire and the use of a Yule log (never bought – often harvested or received as a gift). Many followers of Wicca keep a piece or all of this log for the entire year, using it to light the log the following year.