I would like to know the pronunciation and meaning of each Wiccan Holiday?

Ive been studying Wicca for some time now but I don’t know how to say some of the Holiday names. Also I would like to know what they are about. I found a few sites that tell me what they mean but they are slightly different. I know it will be different for every person but I would like to know from a true Wiccan or possibly Pagan if possible. Maybe you could give me a site that is the closest to being true. Thanks for your help.

7 thoughts on “I would like to know the pronunciation and meaning of each Wiccan Holiday?

  1. There are eight Craft holidays that are recognized during each calendar year. They are called Sabbats. The Sabbats represent seasonal birth, death and rebirth.

    Yule: Yuletide, Winter Solstice
    This is the shortest day of the year and, the longest night. This is usually during 20th or 21st of December and lasts through December 31st.

    Candlemas: Imbolc
    This day falls on February 1st. It is a celebration of banishing the winter season. Imbolc welcomes the change from the old to new. It is a time to welcome spring. This festival is for fertility and to celebrate the things that are yet to be born.

    Ostara: Spring (Vernal) Equinox
    This Sabbat occurs in mid-March. It is a celebration of balance. This is also a festival of fertility and is the second in the trinity of spring celebrations. Ostara invites the fertility energy of the earth to awaken.

    Beltane
    This holiday is on May 5th. Beltane represents the fertility and love energy awakening in humans. It is the last of the three spring festivals. This is a time when people, plants, and animals prepare for the warm months ahead. This is a time for love & union. This particular holiday represents the Divine Union of the Lord and Lady (the God and Goddess).

    Summer Solstice
    This holiday falls in July. It is on the longest day of the year. It is a celebration of passion and success and represents the Sun King in all his glory. It is a time to commune with the field and forest energies (sprites and faeries).

    Lammas:Lughnassadh
    This is the first of the three harvest celebrations. It is celebrated on August 2nd, although Lughnassadh; a Celtic festival is held on August 7th. Both represent the same idea. This holiday represents the beginning of the harvest cycle. This is a time to prepare your house for the fall season.

    Autumn Equinox:Mabon
    This is the second harvest festival and is associated with the taking of the corn and other foods that are to be harvested at this time. This is held usually in September, when the leaves start to turn.

    Samhain:Halloween
    This holiday is considered the Witches’ New Year, representing one full turn of the seasonal year. This is the last of the harvest Sabbats. Halloween is celebrated on October 31st, Samhain is recognized as November 7th. They both stand for the same purpose. This holiday celebrates and honors the dead and as well as a time to appreciate and be grateful for the year’s harvest. It is a time to get ready for the upcoming winter.

  2. The calico cat provided a good rundown of the meaning of the festivals. Here are the pronunciations.

    Yule: Yool
    Imbolc: IM-ulc
    Ostara: Oss-TAH-rah
    Beltane: BELL-tane
    Lammas: LAH-mass
    Lughnassadh: LOO-nass-ad
    Mabon: MAH-bonn
    Samhain: SOW-en

    Hope that helps.

    ETA: Oh, and a freebie… “athame” is pronounced “ah-THAH-may”. 😉

  3. Greetings!

    Wheel of the Year

    The Celtic Ancient Holy-Days:

    SamHuin-( So-Ween) November Eve.
    The Celtic “End of Summer”, and the beginning of the New Year. The Time when the Veil Between Worlds is at its Thinnest, when the Spirits of our Ancestors are heard, and We are heard by Them.

    Imbolq-( Im-Bolk)February Eve.
    Imbolq represents the first stirring of life in the seeds buried in the Earth. It is a time of renewal, cleansing and rebirth. The word Imbolq in Irish Gaelic means “the surrounding of the belly” or “around the belly” and referred to the Earth as the Mother Goddess’ womb. For the Celts, this day was the beginning of Spring.

    Beltuin-(Bel-Tain) some pronounce it in Modern Irish (Bel-Ta-Neh) May Eve.
    The Fires of Belenus-the “Shining God”Spelled variously, Beltaine, Belltaine, Beltain, Beltine, Beltane, Bealtaine, Bealteine, Boaldyn (Manx) or Bealtuinn (Scots Gaelic), it is also called May Eve or May Day.
    This festival is known by various other names in other Celtic countries: Cetshamain (from the Old Celtic – Kentu-saminos, ‘first of summer’) in Ireland, Shenn do Boaldyn on the Isle of Mann, Calan Mai, Dydd Calen Mai or Cyntefrm in Wales, Calá Mé in Cornwall and Kala-Hañv in Brittany.
    In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer season for the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians started at Beltuin. Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits, such as those of the Sídhe.

    Like the festival of Samhuin, opposite Beltuin on Oct. 31, Beltuin was a time when the Otherworld was seen as particularly close at hand. Early Gaelic sources from around the 10th century state that the druids of the community would create a need-fire on top of a hill on this day and drive the village’s cattle through the fires to purify them and bring luck “Eadar dà theine Bhealltuinn” in Scottish Gaelic, ‘Between two fires of Beltuin’. In Scotland, boughs of Juniper were sometimes thrown on the fires to add an additional element of purification and blessing to the smoke. People would also pass between the two fires to purify themselves.

    Lughnasadh-(Loo-Na-Sad) August Eve.

    Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the harvest season and is therefore a festival of celebrating Mother Earth and the abundance of nature. Lughnasadh translates as “Lughs wedding”. Lughnasadh festivals last from 15 July until 15 August. Aside from three days of religious rituals, the celebrations are a time for contests of strength and skill.

    A festival corresponding to Lughnasadh may have been observed by the Gauls at least up to the first century; on the Coligny calendar, the eighth day of the first half of the month Edrinios, is marked with the inscription TIOCOBREXTIO that identifies other major feasts.

    Equinoxes and Solstices: celebrated by the MegaLith Builders,Wiccans, and the Folk of the Northern Way:
    Yule-(Yool)-Winter- December 21st.
    Ostara-Spring- March 21st.
    Litha-Summer-June 21st.
    Mabon-Fall-September 21st.

    Stonehenge and Newgrange—- Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. At dawn, from December 19th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the passage.

    Newgrange’s accuracy as a time-telling device is remarkable when one considers that it was built 1,000 years before the Great Pyramids and more than 500 years before Stonehenge. The intent of its builders was undoubtedly to mark the beginning of the new year. In addition, it may have served as a powerful symbol of the victory of life over death.

    Every year on the first day of summer, the Sun rises at a point that is farther north than on any other day of the year. At the ruins of Stonehenge in England, this solstice sunrise appears on the horizon in direct alignment with the massive heel stone. This is the most outstanding feature of this ancient monument, built during the same era as the Great Pyramid of Egypt. There is little doubt that the builders of Stonehenge used it to mark this special day as the beginning of each year. By counting the number of days between these annual alignments, they could determine the length of the year. This could serve as a practical calendar to mark holidays and seasonal festivals and to ensure the timely planting and harvesting of crops.

    /!\

  4. Ard-Drui’s answer is excellent. Different sites site slightly different meanings as most of these are holidays pulled from various old religious traditions and lumped together by the early Wiccans to create this artificial Wheel of the Year.
    The Celts, for example, really only celebrated what is now called the Cross-Quarter Sabbats or Holidays. The Solstices and Equinoxes were used for time keeping and agriculture purposes, but were not really celebrated, with the exception of the Winter Solstice. I think this was mainly to be a social holiday, however, not a particularly religious one. It was a way to celebrate the return of the sun and the idea that winter would not last forever and it was an excuse to get together with friends and have fun.
    The Norse celebrated the Summer Solstice (the Swedes still do), but it was their version of Beltane (bell-tain) since they are so much farther north.
    The Germans and Saxons had Ostara (spring equinox), which was their version of the Celtic Imbolc, again because their planting season started later due to their geographic location.
    The Fall Equinox or Mabon is pretty much a completely made up holiday. This was the middle of harvest season, and the ancients were way to busy putting the harvest away to celebrate with a whole day off work. They celebrated the end of the harvest season, the killing of the extra animals for winter food, etc. at Samhain if they were Celt, or whenever the harvest season ended if they lived farther north.
    There are many sites out there that list the holidays and their meanings. It doesn’t matter if they are different or not, and they are all ‘true’. Each person picks their own pagan path, we are not like the Christians in that regard. If you are Wiccan and in a coven, you follow the coven’s tradition. If you are Wiccan and solitary in your practice, do what feels right. I like Scott Cunningham’s book “Beginning Wicca: Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” for answers to questions such as yours.

  5. LoL wiccan. Any chance you dress goth? It’s going to be ok. You’ll grow out of it when you reach puberty and realize it’s not hurting mom and dad anymore and people look at you like you’re a clown. LoL

  6. You’re a modern pagan? Make up your own like everyone else does. There is no “true” involved.

    PS Some features of Stonehenge do indeed point quite accurately towards the most southerly position of sunset. However, they do not allow you, without very precise instruments, to accurately determine the date of the winter solstice as the solar minimum persists for at least a day or two either side of the astronomical solstice.

  7. I’m Wiccan… the holidays go by diffent names and pronunciations, and have slightly different traditions and associations, depending on the tradition. They also can have layers of meaning, not just a single event or occassion.

    This is taken from my squidoo.com/wheeloftheyear page, but there are some more in depth explanations on the pages for each individual holiday:

    Seasonal:
    The most obvious is the celebration of the changing seasons. The Wiccan seasons on the Wheel of the Year correspond as follows:

    Yule- circa Dec. 21st- zenith of Winter
    Imbolc- February 2nd- beginning of Spring
    Ostara- circa March 21st- zenith of Spring
    Beltane- May 1st- beginning of Summer
    Litha- circa June 21st- zenith of Summer
    Lughnasadh- August 2nd- beginning of Autumn
    Mabon- circa September 21st- zenith of Autumn
    Samhain- October 31st- beginning of Winter

    Agricultural:
    The agricultural cycles, so important to our Pagan ancestors whose lives depended so much upon the land, are another layer of the celebration. There are three fertility festivals (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane), three Harvest festivals (Lughnasadh, Mabon, Samhain). In between lie the periods of transition; the high point, and the low point (Yule, Midsummer).

    The Life Cycle:
    The seasons and agricultural cycles mirror in the period of a year the lengthier life cycle through which we are all journeying. These line up as follows:

    Yule: Birth (rebirth)
    Imbolc: childhoood
    Ostara: puberty
    Beltane: young adulthood
    Litha: prime adulthood
    Lughnasad: older adulthood
    Mabon: aging
    Samhain: death

    Cycles in our Lives:
    Even further, the cycles in the Wheel mirror the cycles that we are always going through in our lives. These correspond as follows:

    Yule: New beginnings, hope
    Imbolc: Purification, awakenings
    Ostara: “sowing seeds,” making plans
    Beltane: personal growth; uniting with others
    Litha: celebration of success; high points
    Lughnasadh: skills, learning, work
    Mabon: “reaping what we sow;” showing gratitude
    Samhain: reflections; transitions; honoring those who’ve passed

    Mythology:
    The God (the Sun– the life giver) eternally dies and is reborn to bring back the promise of life. The Goddess (The Earth– the life holder) nurtures and delivers the gifts of life to us continually. The two move in an eternal dance, and it is that dance that keeps the Wheel turning.

    …In many mythologies, God is born, bringing back life. He and Goddess fall in love and unite. He weakens and dies. She gives birth to the God once again.

    Remember, this is myth, and not something to be taken as literally happening.

    Oh, and as for pronunciations:
    Yule (uuuuu-LLLL)
    Imbolc (im-BOL-k)
    Ostara (oh-STAR-ah) or Eostre (eee-YO-streh)
    Beltane (bel-TANE)
    Misummer or Litha (LEE-tha)
    Lugnasadh (loo-NA-ah)
    Mabon (MA-bon)
    Samhain (sow-EEN)

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