A Quick Reference and Guide to the Witch's Sabbats

Updated on March 12, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has been following an alternative spiritual path for seventeen years. She encourages others to follow their souls' calling.

Midsummer is just one of the beautiful sabbats we celebrate as the Wheel of the Year turns.
Midsummer is just one of the beautiful sabbats we celebrate as the Wheel of the Year turns. | Source

What Is a Sabbat?

A Sabbat is a major holiday based on ancient pagan traditions. These holidays are celebrated by various branches of Paganism, including Wicca and Witchcraft. There are eight major Sabbats, and witches believe these eight holy days make up the Wheel of the Year.

Sabbats are based on ancient pagan holy days marking the changing of the seasons, specifically the earth's changing rotation around the sun. There are cross-quarter days and quarter days. The cross-quarter days are also known as the major fire festivals and include: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. The quarter days are the equinoxes (spring and autumn equinoxes) and the solstices (summer and winter solstices). Some pagans celebrate only the equinoxes and solstices, while others celebrate all eight of the sabbats. As you develop your practice, you get to determine what days you choose to celebrate and what days you don't.

When I first began my journey into the natural world of Paganism, it was a daunting task to look up even the basics of each Sabbat. Therefore, I hope that this article can be used as a quick guide that helps you remember why we celebrate each special Sabbat, and what foods, colors, and magical workings are related to each one.

Fire is often used in sabbat traditions as it represents the sun's glow.
Fire is often used in sabbat traditions as it represents the sun's glow. | Source

Yule (Winter Solstice)

Names: Yule / Winter Solstice / Jul

Date(s): Between December 20th and 22nd

What we celebrate: At this Sabbat, we celebrate the winter solstice, which is the longest night of the year. We remember the death of the Holly King and the rebirth of the Oak King (giver of light), and we honor family and friends. This holy day symbolizes the return of the sun's reign over the sky, as from here on out the days will once again become longer than the nights.

Gods/Goddesses: Oak and Holly Kings, Odin, Jesus, Cailleach, Mother Mary, and Santa Claus.

Magical Workings: Fertility, rebirth, family, healing, and reflection.

Decorations: Holly, mistletoe, spruce, Christmas trees, ivy, yule logs, pine cones, snowflakes, snowmen, oranges, suns, candles, Christmas lights, reindeer, and elves.

Animals: Reindeer, moose, mice, snowy owls, snowy foxes, and white animals.

A bonfire is appropriate for all sabbat celebrations as it is sympathetic to the sun's light.
A bonfire is appropriate for all sabbat celebrations as it is sympathetic to the sun's light. | Source

Imbolc (St. Brigid's Day)

Names: Imbolc / Oimelc / St. Brigid's Day

Date(s): February 2nd

What we celebrate: For this first holy day of the year, we recognize the initial breaking of winter ground into spring (early stages) and the milking of the ewes. We celebrate Saint Brigid and Goddess Brigid, and ready ourselves for warmer days to come.

Symbols of the season: Snowflake, white flower, snow, crocuses, lambs, and milk.

Lore: Light every lamp in the house, or light candles in each room to represent the sun's rebirth. If snow is on the ground, or falling, walk around in it and draw a sun with your projective hand. Make Saint Brigid's crosses or dolls to celebrate Saint Brigid. A bonfire is appropriate.

Gods/Goddesses: Goddess and Saint Brigid.

Magical Workings: New life, success, new love, and opportunity.

Decorations: Candles, flowers (snowdrops, crocus, and daffodils), oil lamps, besoms, corn dollies, Brigid's crosses, wreaths, woolen yarn, and stuffed sheep.

Animals: Lambs and birds.

The Easter rabbit is an ancient pagan symbol for fertility and spring.
The Easter rabbit is an ancient pagan symbol for fertility and spring. | Source

Ostara (Spring Equinox)

Names: Ostara / Eostre / Spring Equinox / Vernal Equinox

Date(s): March 21st (approx.)

What we celebrate: The changing of the season and the arrival of spring is what we honor on this day. The earth's rebirth and awakening from a long, harsh winter as well as fertility and motherhood are celebrated.

Traditions and rituals: Collect wildflowers from a field or, at the very least, a florist shop. Plan to walk in gardens, parks, or forests to celebrate nature. Plant seeds, do gardening and yard work. Do herb work. Make an Ostara wreath. Paint or dye eggs, celebrate the Easter bunny with Easter baskets. Feed birds with bird seed. Write your intentions for the spring on an egg and bury it near your front doorstep.

Gods/Goddesses: Eostre, Persephone, Demeter, Jesus, Cybele, Zeus, Osiris, Horus, Freya, Mithras, and Saraswati.

Magical Workings: Success, blossoming love, passion, budding friendship, rebirth.

Decorations: fFowers, bunnies, buds and blossoms (can be worn too), spring water & flowers in cup/cauldron, bird nests, birds, robin's eggs, eggs of all kinds.

Animals: Birds, baby chicks, rabbits, lambs, baby animals of all kinds.

Construct your own wicker man!
Construct your own wicker man! | Source

Beltane (May Day)

Names: Beltane / Beltuinn / May Day

Date(s): May 1st

What we celebrate: The first day of the month of May is a celebration of fertility, abundant life, and the union of the God and the Goddess to procreate.

Lore: Hold festivities in a forest or near a living tree. Create a small token in honor of the wedding of the God and Goddess to hang on a tree. Weaving and planting are traditional. Erect a traditional maypole and dance around with ribbons. Light a bonfire.

Gods/Goddesses: Druantia, Horned God, Fertility Deities, Flora, and Cybele.

Magical Workings: Fertility, success, abundance, love, passion, education, and healing.

Decorations: Maypole, ribbons in trees, candles, fire, bags of flowers, strings of beads, garland, carvings, phallic symbols, cups, cauldrons, wicker man, symbols of love and fertility.

Animals: Deer, goat, and ram.

Basics for the Year's First Four Sabbats

Yule (Winter Solstice)
Nuts, fruits, cider, wine, turkey, goose, ham, soups/stews, wassail, gingerbread, hot cocoa, spiced tea, and cakes.
Cinnamon, fireside, pine, bayberry, spruce, fir, and peppermint.
Green, gold, red, white, silver, orange, and yellow.
Milk, sour cream dishes, dairy in general, spicy and full-bodied foods, peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives, wines & dishes containing raisins (all symbolic of the sun).
Amber, bay, bayberry, pine, frankincense, and myrrh.
Yellow, green, pink, white, and brown.
Ostara (Spring Equinox)
Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, pine nuts), sprouts, leafy green vegetables. Flower dishes (stuffed nasturtiums or carnation cupcakes). Rose water used in baking.
Sunflower, rose, daffodil, daisies, and heather.
Pink, purple, yellow, light blue, purple, and green.
Beltane (May Day)
Dairy, marigold custard, vanilla ice cream, eggs, avocado, and fruit.
Floral, sandalwood, and lavender.
Yellow, pink, blue, green, and red.
The fae come out in multitudes on Midsummer.
The fae come out in multitudes on Midsummer. | Source

Midsummer (Summer Solstice)

Names: Midsummer / Summer Solstice / Litha

Date(s): June 21st

What we celebrate: Summer solstice is the longest day of the year. At this time, we honor the wedding of heaven and earth and the sun in all its powerful glory.

Lore: Leap fire for purification and renewed energy. Make a cloth pouch of herbs such as lavender, chamomile, St. John's Wort, Vervain, or others. Mentally pour all troubles into this pouch as you construct it. Burn in balefire and visualize troubles burning and blowing away for good. Put out offerings of cake and milk or mead for the faeries.

Gods/Goddesses: Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Fertility Gods, and the Fay.

Magical Workings: Healing, love, weddings, energy, and protection magic.

Decorations: Candles, fairies, strawberries, suns, plant life, trees, and ribbons.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Leave offerings for the fae on Midsummer's.The fay live in tree trunks like this one.
Leave offerings for the fae on Midsummer's.
Leave offerings for the fae on Midsummer's. | Source
The fay live in tree trunks like this one.
The fay live in tree trunks like this one. | Source

Lugnasadh (Lammas)

Names: Lughnasadh / Lammas / Loaf-Mass

Date(s): August 1st

What we celebrate: This is the first of three harvest festivals and it occurs at the height of summer. During this celebration, we focus on the story of Lugh, a Celtic god. Fruitfulness and abundance are key themes as plants are yielding bounty and the Sun is high in the sky.

Lore: Plant the seed of a fruit. Weave wheat or make corn dollies. Visit lakes, orchards, fields, and wells. Pick blackberries and raspberries. Bake breads from wheat or other bountiful crops.

Gods/Goddesses: Lugh, Tuatha de Danann, and Mother Goddesses.

Magical Workings: Fruitfulness, endurance, enduring love, strength and skill, and handfastings.

Decorations: Sheaves of wheat on altar, barley, oats, fruits, berries, the sun, the god.

Animals: Woodland animals, birds, and deer.

Baking bread is a tradition of Lughnasadh.
Baking bread is a tradition of Lughnasadh. | Source

Mabon (Autumn Equinox)

Names: Mabon / Autumn Equinox

Date(s): September 21st

What we celebrate: Mabon is the second of the three harvest festivals and occurs at the autumnal equinox when the season changes from summer to fall. At this time, day and night are divided equally and we pay respect to impending night. Druids celebrate Green Man; Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess who is turning from Mother into the Crone and the God preparing for death and rebirth.

Gods/Goddesses: Mabon, Green Man, Demeter, and Mother Goddesses.

Magical Workings: Reaping success, abundance, protection, hearth and home.

Decorations: Acorns, oak sprigs, pine or cypress cones, wheat stalks, fruits and nuts, basket of dried leaves.

Apples are a key symbol for Mabon.
Apples are a key symbol for Mabon. | Source

Samhain (All Hallows' Eve)

Names: Samhain / All Hallows' Eve / Hallowe'en / All Souls Night

Date(s): October 31st

What we celebrate: This is the Pagan new year and night of the dead, when the spiritual world has its thinnest veil. Samhain is the third of the three harvest festivals and the last festival of the Holly King. This sabbat honors the year's last harvest— anything harvested after Samhain belongs to the fay and is not to be eaten by humans.

Gods/Goddesses: Hades, Hel, Demeter, Hecate, Lilith, Baba Yaga, The Morrigan, Maeve, Kali, and Crone Goddesses.

Magical Workings: Spiritual awakening, communion with the dead, psychic abilities, success and bounty, pregnancy.

Decorations: Jack o' lanterns, witches, werewolves, moons, gourds, costumes, brooms, pumpkins, squash, bails of hay, dried leaves, bats, lanterns, cobwebs, apples, corn husks, and candles.

Samhain Pics

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Basics for the Last Four Sabbats of the Year

Midsummer (Summer Solstice)
Berries, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Floral scents, jasmine, lavender, chamomile, and bonfire.
Yellow, gold, orange, red, and blue.
Lughnasadh (Lammas)
Fruit and breads (bread shaped like the sun or a man to represent the God); corn dollies may be present to represent the harvest Goddess. Blackberries, all berries, acorns, crab apples, all grains, locally ripe produce.
Berries, apple, harvest and summer scents.
Brown, gold, autumnal reds, dark oranges, and dark purple.
Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
Ciders, wines, herbs, grains, fruits and vegetables, especially corn, beans, and baked squash.
Pumpkin and cinnamon.
Autumnal colors—maroon, gold, yellow, orange, and brown.
Samhain (All Hallows' Eve)
Squash, apple cider, candied apples, spiced rum, candy, breads, and fall fruits.
Pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, and spices.
Black, orange, purple, dark blue, and gold.
A bonfire is perfect for the colder sabbats such as Samhain and Yule but is also traditional at Beltane.
A bonfire is perfect for the colder sabbats such as Samhain and Yule but is also traditional at Beltane. | Source

Old Spell for Fun (For All Hallows Eve):

When the white dog is out and trots all about

Under the clouds that are over the moon,

and the hag with her broom rides high on the wind,

And the cat on the fence spits even at friends,

Then it is right to conjure light against

every spirit that shadows the night.

Thus day:

Let the pumpkin's candle glare

into darkness everywhere,

Burn all evil from the air!

When it is dark and the black trees roar; set Jack O' Lantern to watch by the door.

What's your favorite Sabbat?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Kitty Fields


    Submit a Comment

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      6 months ago from Summerland

      Andie - I think you can do whatever you feel is right, but the sabbats for apollo and esbats for artemis sounds like an awesome idea!

    • profile image

      Andie Rodriguez 

      6 months ago

      I was wondering if you could help me out with finding meaning in these Sabbats for Apollo and Artemis so I could also honor them if it's possible. Would sabbats for Apollo and esbats for Artemis be more fitting?

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      14 months ago from Summerland

      Hi Emilie - I will look into the Australian dates for you. I have a friend who is a witch that lives in Australia, so I'm sure she can help out. You can email me at nicolemcanfield@gmail.com

    • Emilie Sarah Jone profile image

      Emilie Sarah Jone 

      14 months ago

      Hi could i get a list of Australia's dates for the above please.

      Just confused with the harvest celebrations and All Hallows Eve because were post Spring Equinox by then. Needing a little guidance as I'm a budding Solitary. Have had a huge awakening over the last month.

      Focusing on Wicca + Witchcraft + garden Witch. Could we chat via Email. I need to speak to someone that understands what I'm going thru atm.

    • Cleo Burch profile image

      Cleo Burch 

      18 months ago from Hollywood, Florida

      This is a wonderful article for those new to the craft. Excellent work!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      Great overview, beginners would find this very helpful. Nice work.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for this hub, very helpful :)

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Daniella - No worries, glad you liked it! Happy Samhain!

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 

      7 years ago from Spain

      For some reason I missed this hub of yours. Awesome and informative, as always. :)

      Voted up!

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Eiddwen - Brilliant? You think so? Thanks, that's an awesome compliment.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      This is what I love about Hubpages

      This one is brilliant.

      Take care


    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Karkadin - Good for you! They are beautiful celebrations, truly. Thanks for reading and voting so much! :)

    • Karkadin profile image


      7 years ago from Middle of Nowhere, USA

      I've always been curious about pagan holidays. Maybe I'll celebrate one soon. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting. :)

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Mentalist acer - Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Thanks for sharing this interesting piece kittythedreamer.;)


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