Sabbats and Esbats: A Quick Reference and Guide

Midsummer is just one of the beautiful sabbats we celebrate as the Wheel of the Year turns.
Midsummer is just one of the beautiful sabbats we celebrate as the Wheel of the Year turns. | Source
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Sabbats & Esbats Quick Guide

What is a Sabbat exactly? A Sabbat is a major holiday for nature religions such as various types of Paganism, including Wicca and Druidism. There are eight total Sabbats and Pagans believe and teach that these eight festivals make up the "Wheel of the Year".

What is an Esbat exactly? Esbats are usually thought of as a gathering in order to celebrate the Full Moons of the year, but the term Esbat can be used to describe a magical gathering of any time, be it a Full Moon or not.

My purpose in writing this hub is to give new Pagans an easy guide to refer to in order to find the basic information on the eight Sabbats and Full Moon Esbats. When I first began my journey into the natural world of Paganism, it was a daunting task to look up even the mere basics of each Sabbat, so I hope that this hub can be used as a quick reference to refer back to in order to determine the foods, colors, magical workings, and the reasons why we celebrate each special Sabbat.

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Yule Basics

Date(s): Between December 20th and 22nd

What we celebrate: Winter solstice which is the longest night of the year; death of the Holly King and rebirth of the Oak King (giver of light); family and friends.

Gods and Goddesses associated: Oak King, Jesus, Crone

Foods: nuts, fruits, cider, wine, turkey, ham, wassail, gingerbread, hot cocoa, spiced tea, cakes.

Decorations: holly, mistletoe, christmas trees, yule logs, pine cones, snowflakes, snowmen.

Colors: green, gold, red, white, silver, and yellow.

Scents and incense: cinnamon, fireside, pine, bayberry.

Magical Workings: fertility, rebirth, family, healing.

Imbolc Pic

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Imbolc Basics

Date(s): February 2nd

What we celebrate: initial breaking of winter ground into spring (early stages); milking of the ewes

Symbol of Season: snowflake, white flower, or snow

Lore: light every lamp in the house or light candles in each room to represent the sun's rebirth. If snow is on the ground, or falling, walk around in it and draw a sun with your projective hand.

Foods: milk, sour cream dishes, dairy in general, spicy and full-bodied foods, peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives, wines & dishes containing raisins (all symbolic of the sun).

Decorations: candles, flowers (snowdrops, crocus, and daffodils), oil lamps, besoms, corn dollies, woolen yarn and stuffed sheep.

Colors: yellow, green, pink, white, brown.

Scents: amber, bay, bayberry, pine, frankincense and myrrh.

Magical Workings: new life, success, new love, opportunity

Ostara Pics

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Ostara Basics

Date(s): March 21st

What we celebrate: the spring equinox.

Lore: collect wildflowers from a field or at the very least a florist shop. Plan to walk in gardens, parks, forests, to celebrate nature. Plant seeds, do gardening and yard work. Do herb work.

Foods: seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, pine nuts) sprouts, leafy green vegetables. Flower dishes - stuffed nasturtiums or carnation cupcakes.

Decorations: flowers, bunnies, buds and blossoms (can be worn too), spring water & flowers in cup/cauldron

Colors: pink, purple, yellow, light blue, green.

Scents: sunflower, floral scents.

Magical Workings: success, blossoming love, passion, budding friendship.

Beltane Pics

Construct your own wicker man!
Construct your own wicker man! | Source

Beltane Basics

Date(s): May 1st

What we celebrate: fertility; the union of the God and the Goddess.

Lore: celebreate in a forest or near a living tree; create a small token in honor of the wedding of the God and Goddess to hang on a tree. Weaving and planting are traditional.

Foods: dairy, marigold custard, vanilla ice cream.

Decorations: maypole, ribbons in trees, bags of flowers, strings of beads, garland, carvings.

Colors: yellow, pink, blue, green, red.

Scents: floral, sandalwood, lavender.

Magical Workings: fertility, success, love, passion, education, healing.

Midsummer Pics

Leave offerings for the fae on Midsummer's.
Leave offerings for the fae on Midsummer's. | Source
The fay live in tree trunks like this one.
The fay live in tree trunks like this one. | Source

Lughnasadh Pics

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Midsummer Basics

Date(s): June 21st

What we celebrate: Summer solstice is the longest day of the year; wedding of heaven and earth; the sun in all its powerful glory.

Lore: leap fire for purification and renewed energy. Make cloth pouch of herbs such as lavender, chamomile, St. John's Wort, Vervain, or others. Mentally pour all troubles into this petition as constructing it. Burn in balefire and visualize troubles burning and blowing away for good.

Foods: berries, fresh fruits.

Decorations: candles, fairies, strawberries, suns.

Colors: yellow, gold, orange, red, blue.

Scents: floral, lavender, chamomile, bonfire.

Magical Workings: healing, love, wedding, energy, and protection magic

Lugnasadh Basics

Date(s): August 1st

What we celebrate: first of three autumn harvest festivals.

Lore: plant the seed of a fruit. Wheat weaving - making of corn dollies, etc. Visit lakes, orchards, fields, and wells.

Foods: fruit and breads (bread shaped like the sun or a man to represent the God); corn dollies may be present to represent Goddess. Blackberries, all berries, acorns, crab apples, all grains, locally ripe produce.

Decorations: sheaves of wheat on altar, barley or oats.

Colors: brown, gold, autumnal reds, dark oranges, dark purple.

Scents: berries, harvest scents

Magical Workings: fruitfulness, endurance, enduring love, strength and skill, handfastings

Mabon Pics

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Mabon Basics

Date(s): September 21st

What we celebrate: second of three harvest festivals; autumnal equinox. Divides day and night equally; to give respects to impending night. Druids celebrate Green Man; Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess who is turning from Mother into the Crone and the God preparing for death and rebirth.

Foods: ciders, wines, herbs, grains, fruits and vegetables, especially corn, beans, and baked squash.

Decorations: acorns, oak sprigs, pine or cypress cones, wheat stalks, fruits and nuts, basket of dried leaves.

Colors: autumnal colors - maroon, gold, yellow, orange, brown.

Scents: pumpkin, spices especially cinnamon.

Magical Workings: reaping success

Samhain Pics

All About Samhain

Date(s): October 31st

What we celebrate: pagan new year; night of the dead when the spiritual world has its thinnest veil; third of three harvest festivals. Last festival of the Holly King.

Foods: squash, apple cider, candied apples, spiced rum, candy, breads, fall fruits.

Decorations: jack o' lanterns, gourds, costumes, brooms, pumpkins, squash, bails of hay, dried leaves, bats, lanterns, candles.

Colors: black, orange, purple, dark blue, gold.

Scents: pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, spices.

Magical Workings: spiritual awakening, communion with the dead, psychic abilities, success and bounty, pregnancy.

Old Spell for fun (For All Hallows Eve)

When the white dog is out and trots all about
Under the clouds that are over the moon,
and the hag with her broom rides high on the wind,
And the cat on the fence spits even at friends,
Then it is right to conjure light against
every spirit that shadows the night.
Thus day:

Let the pumpkin's candle glare
into darkness everywhere,
Burn all evil from the air!

When it is dark and the black trees roar; set Jack O' Lantern to watch by the door.

What's your favorite Sabbat?

See results without voting

© 2011 Author Nicole Canfield

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Comments 10 comments

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 3 years ago

Great overview, beginners would find this very helpful. Nice work.


harmony 4 years ago

Thank you for this hub, very helpful :)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Daniella - No worries, glad you liked it! Happy Samhain!


Daniella Lopez profile image

Daniella Lopez 5 years ago from Arkansas

For some reason I missed this hub of yours. Awesome and informative, as always. :)

Voted up!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Eiddwen - Brilliant? You think so? Thanks, that's an awesome compliment.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

This is what I love about Hubpages

This one is brilliant.

Take care

Eiddwen.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Karkadin - Good for you! They are beautiful celebrations, truly. Thanks for reading and voting so much! :)


Karkadin profile image

Karkadin 5 years ago from Middle of Nowhere, USA

I've always been curious about pagan holidays. Maybe I'll celebrate one soon. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting. :)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Mentalist acer - Thanks for reading and commenting!


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Thanks for sharing this interesting piece kittythedreamer.;)

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,895 Followers
    428 Articles

    Kitty has been following a pagan spiritual path for over sixteen years. Because of this she encourages others to follow their own paths.



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