A Sabbat by Any Other Name

The commonly accepted names for the Wiccan Sabbats are:

  • Yule (approx. December 21st)
  • Imbloc/Imbolg (February 1st)
  • Ostara (approx. March 21st)
  • Beltane (May 1st)
  • Midsummer (approx. June 21st)
  • Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)
  • Mabon (approx. September 21st)
  • Samhain (October 31st)

Most of these names come from Celtic festivals, and in some case, the Wiccan celebration supposedly vaguely resembles these original festivals. But, as well all know, Wicca is not Celtic. In the tradition I belong to, Universal Eclectic Wicca, there has been a move to change the Sabbat names to the following, with the idea of the celebration/rite occurring the evening before for the “eve” Sabbats:

  • Winter Solstice (approx. December 21st)
  • February Eve (February 1st)
  • Spring Equinox (approx. March 21st)
  • May Eve (May 1st)
  • Sumer Solstice(approx. June 21st)
  • August Eve (August 1st)
  • Autumn Equinox (approx. September 21st)
  • November Eve (October 31st)

While the names aren’t as poetic, they also don’t carry the Celtic baggage of the other names. In most cases, I try to use the newer names (or older, since they were supposedly used by Gardner originally), but I still like to use Beltane, Samhain (Sow-een), and Yule. They have built up a certain feeling for me that will take some time to become attached to the other names.