Wiccan Wheel of the Year Silver Pendant
Nature-oriented and eclectic Pagans often celebrate the Wheel of the Year, a framework of celebrations that comes from Wicca. The eight Wiccan holidays are called sabbats and include the winter and summer solstices, the spring and fall equinoxes, and the four midpoints between them. This ritual calendar is based on old Anglo-Saxon and Celtic traditions. The winter solstice, known as Yule, is celebrated around December 21, the time of year when the nights are longest and the days shortest. The solstice is also the inception of the light that will grow as days lengthen once again. Some Pagans stay up the entire night to greet the returning light, described by some as the birth of the Sun God. The spring equinox, which takes place around March 21, is named for the Germanic goddess Ostara and celebrates the balance between the light and the dark. The summer solstice, called Litha, is the inverse of the winter solstice. This day of the longest light, June 21, is often celebrated with all-night vigils and bonfires, and it is the crest of the summer and the forerunner of the harvest. The fall equinox, called Mabon, takes place on or around September 21, again a day of balancing of dark and light. In many traditions, the autumn equinox is a harvest festival.