Wheel of the Year
In ancient times, human beings used to keep track of time based on the various natural phenomenon and festivals they 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 that 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 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 worldwide 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 Western Europe, used to celebrate these festivals. The best part is these four Sabbats survived the attack of Christianity and remained in the culture.
The celebration these days is less symbolic
When Wicca was being formed, during the 1930s to 1960s, these four Sabbats started being celebrated once again. The other four Sabbats, some celebrated by some of the Wiccan groups, are known as the lesser Sabbats. In the lesser Sabbats, solstices and equinoxes are included. If you want to find a trace of ancient times when these festivals were initiated, you will be highly disappointed. These festivals have taken up the color and flavor of various cultures over time. That is why the celebration these days are less symbolic than before.
The wheel of the year symbolizes changes that happen 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 calculate the festivals to take place throughout the year. The depiction of the calendar is also fascinating. The pictures not only display the Sabbats but 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 year.