When it comes to celebrating the Wiccan faith, there are a handful of important holidays that center on the changing of the seasons, as well as other significant occurrences in nature. In this article, we will focus on Imbolc (February 2), Ostara (March 21), and Beltane (May 1).
February 2 , Imbolc: This Pagan holiday marks the halfway point of winter and makes reference to the food storage of the wintertime or “ewe’s milk,” which mentions the lambing season. Neo-Pagans use this date to focus on a festival of fire with rituals that involves processions with torches and dances centered on fire. Some activities associated with the holiday include reading poetry, sharing stories, or planting spring flowers.
March 21 – Ostara (Spring Equinox): This Neo-Pagan festival celebrates the spring equinox, where the coming of spring, fertility, and new growth are the main themes. For Wiccans and some other Pagans, Ostara is a day that focuses on the Goddess (often referred to as Mother Earth or the Young Maiden) and God (also known as the Green Man and the Sun God). This is the day when the two join in a sacred marriage. The Goddess then conceives and gives birth in nine months. The springtime is marked with increased strength and productivity, which is attributed to the growing power of the Goddess and God.
On the day, Ostera celebrants follow a variety of rituals centered on fertility, nature, and new growth. The egg becomes an important part of the festivities. Egg hunts, egg races, egg eating contests, and painting eggs are just some of the common activities observed. Often times, a woman and a man are selected to serve as the Spring Goddess and God. They will act out the courtship and act as if they were planting seeds.
Another way Neo -Pagans choose to celebrate the holiday is by eating fresh foods associated with the springtime, like dandelion greens, sprouts, and nettles. Fasting during this period is also not uncommon, as this practice helps clear away the toxins that has settled throughout the winter season. A lot of Wiccans will start an herb garden, which also comes in handy for conducting spells in the future. A home altar is sometimes set up, where spring flowers, jasmine-scented incense, and the gemstone jasper are utilized.
May 1 , Beltane: Taking place on the first day of May, Beltane has roots as an ancient Gaelic festival that was celebrated in Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. At the same time, other festivals that were similar in nature were held in Brittany, Wales, and Cornwall. In the past, Beltane and Samhain were the two most important dates in Ireland. They have also been able to successfully survive throughout history. A bonfire is a prime component of celebrating Beltane. Rituals may include maypole dancing and other observances that center on the subject of fertility. Some Wiccans have been known to celebrate “High Beltane,” which recreates the ritual union between the May Lord and Lady.