What holidays from the wheel of the year do you celebrate? Create your own wheel of the year! You are only limited by your imagination.
These are always fun! 🙂 (And kind of ironic for this to come up again because I’ve had this conversation with a friend of mine this year).
Ahem. Regarding the traditional “wheel of the year”. For years, I honored the 8 dates that most people think of as the pagan wheel of the year.
4: Spring Equinox
6: Summer Solstice
8: Autumnal equinox
Until, I started looking into the traditional/Reconstructionist side of the question. That’s when I came to the conclusion that… it’s a bit of a generalization (dare I say stereotype?) to say all pagans and witches follow that Alexandrian/Gardnerian Wiccan calendar (Alexandrian Wicca/Gardnerian Wicca).
No, no we don’t.Which I think is the hardest thing for newbies to grasp. In fact, the truth of our festival cycles can be a bit more complicated. Or it can be as simple as just celebrating the moon phases.
As far as the “seasons” historically, not every area of the world celebrated the same holidays (as others have mentioned). The Irish Celts didn’t celebrate the equinoxes and solstices, but the Continental and British Celts did (supposedly). And no doubt there are others. Australians, for instance. I blame trying to force phenomena into dates on the fact that…*drum roll please* the calendar is an arbitrary construct. Is New Years always January 1st? No. In some parts of the world, in the middle ages, under the Julian calendar, New Years happened in March. The Roman year began,variously, May 1, March 15 and January 1st. (Until the Gregorian calendar came along and “normalized” it to January 1)
And in some cases, (like Italy) they kept the March date even after good ole George’s decree. Some all the way up to …the mid-18th century? (I believe that’s correct). Some stubbornly stuck to the old calendar until the 19th century. So when is new years, exactly? *headache* You can see how, as a writer, this would make trying to pin a certain event to a certain date or day difficult. (Try, ‘what day was Imbolc… every 500 years’! Yeesh! Which is why I didn’t choose to set the battles in Celtic Stewards Chronicles “at the Spring Equinox” or any other equinox/solstice or saint day, *bigger headache*)
Sometimes, we can’t even agree on dates. For instance, (to take a historical subject I’m intrigued by) did Vesuvius erupt in August? Or October or even later, like some scholars think is the case? Or even pinpointing the birthdate of someone. (for instance, a queen I’m fond of: what day was Elinor of Aquitaine born? and what year? Two different astrology sites think she was born in September. Really? The scholars and writers only ever seem to mention a year (which may or may not be 1124.) So where did not one, but two astrologers dig up the exact day?? (either September 17th or September 24th? and one says via the Julian calendar it’s the 24th while the other says that by the Gregorian calendar it’s the 24th. *shakes head*) Truth probably is, only Elinor’s mother knows. Are we even sure she died on April 1st? That seems like a joke to me. So to try to pinpoint “was that date a Monday, Tuesday? “or “did it coincide with market day” (see Druid Warrior’s Heart!). OMG, it’s rough.
But I digress (incredibly). So given all this back and forth about the calendars and what date goes where and how and before or after when? It’s not surprising that we can’t even agree on our holidays, is it? And, as I’ve mentioned time and again (and again) some of the seasons blend into one, depending on your location. So, by necessity, I’ve adjusted the wheel to suit my environment (I mean, as pagans, that’s what we’re supposed to be attuned to, right?). But, to specific holidays… I have about… a million? *lol*
This is an anniversary for me, so to speak, so this is a special one. It may or may not still be sweltering by Samhain, so I tend to use it more as a time to honor my ancestors.
I’m iffy on whether or not the Celts even celebrated this one before the invasion of/contact with the Norse, but it’s Christmas, which I always enjoy, so it stays on my calendar.
which is a strange one for us because this is the time of the year when we’re having our coldest days of the year. Not exactly a “first sign of spring”, is it? But… I revere Brighid, and since it’s her day, I’ve kept it on my calendar. (And even used it as the ritual battle date in theCeltic Stewards Chronicles series :)).
Beltaine is the beginning of my summer. Because this is about the time our temperatures start nudging the 90s.
This date would technically be closer to our midsummer. And as I revere Lugh, this is one of my special days.
So what is that? Five?
And this year I’ve added Venus to my lineup, so maybe I’ll do something for the Festival of Venus Genetrix (September 26). We’ll see. I tried adding Vinalia Rustica, an Italian festival in honor of Venus (and/or Jupiter) that goes back to antiquity and takes place in August (the 19th). But…never could find anything specific about how she was revered at the time, beyond tending gardens, so just winged it with a libation in Venus’ honor. We don’t have grapes in my garden, but as she was also a garden goddess, I just, well, tended my flowers. 🙂
So, that would be seven (if I do that one in September).
I haven’t yet, but plan to, do something for maybe the Veneralia or Vinalia Urban (both in April) but we’ll see.
If I add the Solstice and equinoxes (and various other dates), what would that bump it up to? The solstice/equinoxes sometimes get combined with others. If I don’t I skip them altogether. And if you watched my video of last year, you’ll know there are even more! Not to mention daily devotions and then moon observations.
So, thinking about it, that’s a lot of work! And do you see what I mean now to say “we all celebrate the 8 festivals” is a bit of a generalization?
I have friends who follow other pantheons who do different dates altogether.
I’ll tell you a further secret: since so many holy days can get unwieldy, I admit it. Sometimes I don’t do more than just mark them on the calendar and nod when I see them there, depending on what I’m doing. Sometimes, I even get lucky and release a book or two. So, I dunno. My calendar of what I do when has always been a work in progress. How about you, my fellow pagans? What are your special days?
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