The wheel of the year
The Wheel of the Year celebrates the changing seasons of the year, and the continuous cycle of life itself:
birth, death, and rebirth. In design, the Wheel has eight spokes designating the eight sabbats that
represent the solstices, equinoxes, and in some traditions, the cross quarters. The eight-spoke wheel is
thought by many to be a Celtic symbol; however, it appeared in Greek symbolism as early as 600 BC,
over two hundred years prior to the Aegean/Mediterranean contact with the Celts.
There are 8 Sabbats each year: 4 major Sabbats and 4 minor Sabbats. The major Sabbats are:
Imbolc/Candlemas, Beltane, Lughnasadh/Lammas, and Samhain.
The minor Sabbats are: Spring Equinox/Ostara, Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Litha, Autumn
Equinox/Mabon, and Winter Solstice/Yule.
In the Celtic tradition, the major Sabbats are on the “Cross Quarters”, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and
Samhain; also known as Fire Festivals. Traditions based upon a more agricultural setting will consider the
major Sabbats to be on the two solstices and two equinoxes, Ostara, Litha, Mabon and Yule.
Modern religious holidays are based on the older Pagan holidays. Samhain has become Halloween, Yule
has become Christmas and Chanukah, Imbolc has become Groundhog Day, Ostara has become Easter,
Beltane has become May day, and Mabon has become Thanksgiving.
My Thanks for this great explanation of sabbats goes out to:
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