The Wheel of the Year is a Wiccan and Neopagan term for the annual cycle of the Earth's seasons. It consists of eight festivals, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the year. These festivals are referred to by Wiccans as Sabbats.
These festivals have been utilized by cultures in both the pre and post Christian eras as traditional times for the community to celebrate the planting and harvest seasons. The Wheel of the Year has been important to many people both ancient and modern, from various religious as well as cultural and secular viewpoints.
Samhain / All Hallow's Eve / Halloween (October 31)
Start of Winter. Beginning of the Spiritual New Year. Remembrance for the past year. Night of Power. Spirit Night. Feast of the Dead. Feast of Divination. Celebration of the Dead.
Yule / MidWinter's Eve (December 20,21,22)
Winter Solstice. Longest Night Shortest Day of the year. Fertility Rites. Celebration of Family and Friends.
Imbolc (February 2)
Beginning of Spring. Festival of Lights. Celebration of Mother Earth.
Ostara (March 20,21,22)
Spring Equinox. Night and Day stand in perfect balance. Fertility. Renewal. Cleansing of Hearth and Home. Celebration of New beginnings.
Bealtaine (May 1)
Beginning of Summer. Sexual Celebration. Maypoles. Celebration of Life.
Litha / MidSummer (June 20,21,20)
Summer Solstice. Longest Day Shortest Night of the Year. Night of Bonfires for Warding off Evil Spirits. Celebration of Father Time. Night of Faeries.
Lughnasadh (August 1,2)
Beginning of Fall. Beginning of the Harvest Season. Crafts. Celebration of the First Harvest. Festival season begins.
Mabon (September 20,21,22)
Autumn Equinox. Night and Day stand in perfect balance. Time of Rest after hard work. Celebration of the Harvest's rewards.
(please note this post may change often...eventually it will be a hub to easily access links to all of the above...)