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The Greater Sabbats

The Greater Sabbats are religious festivals celebrated at more or less equally spaced intervals throughout the year. The term Sabbat originates from the Abrahamic faiths with Hebrew origin and has been adapted by followers of modern Wicca to describe the festivals of the year. There are a total of eight Sabbats in the Wiccan calender, four of which are greater Sabbats, and four lesser.

The four greater Sabbats are linked to the four seasons and are celebrated at times when the seasons change. They are also referred to as cross-quarter days, moon Sabbats or Fire festivals and are most closely associated with ancient Gaelic feasts. They are celebrated today on set days of the year by most of the western world but Pagan and Neopagan religious groups often conduct their own religious practices on the actual day of the festival each year. The feasts follow lunar and solar cycles which means that the actual day varies from year to year but for most of us a set date is more convenient.

The dates of the Sabbats follow the calendar in the Northern Hemisphere which causes some problems when those in the Southern Hemisphere wish to celebrate them. The most common solution is to add six months for the Southern Hemisphere to bring the celebrations into line which means that Neopagans are often celebrating an opposite festival at any given time of year. Someone in Australia, for example, could be celebrating Samhain when someone in England is observing the Beltane festival. Those that live on the equator are in something of a predicament and can choose either direction.

The four Greater Sabbats are:

Samhain, also known as Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, which is celebrated on October 31st; Candlemas, also referred to

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