Wheel of the Year

In ancient times, human being used to keep track of time based on the various natural phenomenon and festivals he celebrated during that time. Wiccans are no different from the early human being and that is why they have various celebrations and festivals around the year. These festivals are known as Sabbats and the number of them varies from one group to another. In one group eight of the Sabbats are performed around the year. In another group which calls itself the follower of traditional witchcraft only four of the festivals are observed. According to another group from a specific area, six of the Sabbats are celebrated.


One interesting point among all these Sabbats is that four of them are common among all the groups. It means all the groups celebrate them. Then some of the groups have their own set of a few more festivals. The four celebrations that are observed by all the groups all over the world are known as the Greater Sabbats. The origin of these Sabbats is in the ancient Celtic culture. The Celts, who used to live in Ireland and in Western Europe, used to celebrate these festivals. The best part is these four Sabbats survived the attack of Christianity and remained in the culture.


Afterwards when Wicca was being formed during the period ranging from 1930 to 1960, these four Sabbats came into being and started being celebrated once again. The other four Sabbats, some of which are celebrated by some of the Wiccan groups, are known as lesser Sabbats. The lesser Sabbats are includes solstices and equinoxes. If you want to find a trace of the ancient time when these festivals were initiated, then you will be highly disappointed. These festivals have taken up the color and flavor of various cultures over the time. That is why the celebration these days are less symbolic than before.


The wheel of the year is a symbol of changes that happens in nature throughout the year. It is more like a calendar, though not the traditional one. Instead of having days and months and dates, this particular calendar helps to calculate the festivals that are to take place all through the year. The depiction of the calendar is also very interesting. The pictures not only display the Sabbats, rather they also display the season they are to happen. Though there are other significances of this wheel, primarily it is a way to calculate the time of the year.