Wheel of the Year

In ancient times, human beings used to keep track of time based on the various natural phenomena and festivals they celebrated during that time. Wiccans are no different from early human beings, so they have various yearly celebrations and festivals. These festivals are known as Sabbats, and their number varies from one group to another. In one group, eight of the Sabbats are performed around the year. Only four of the festivals are observed in another group that calls itself the follower of traditional witchcraft. According to another group from a specific area, six Sabbats are celebrated.

One interesting point among all these Sabbats is that four are shared among all the groups. It means all the groups celebrate them. Then, some groups have their own set of a few more festivals. The four celebrations 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 again. The other four Sabbats, some celebrated by some of the Wiccan groups, are known as the lesser Sabbats. Solstices and equinoxes are included in the lesser Sabbats. You will be highly disappointed if you want to find a trace of ancient times when these festivals were initiated. These festivals have taken up the color and flavor of various cultures over time. That is why the celebrations 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, 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 also display the season in which they are to happen. Though there are other significances of this wheel, primarily, it is a way to calculate the time of year.

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High Druidess Alisson