One of the people who I follow on Twitter posed a question this morning that I thought required more space than 140 characters. The question was “what is your favorite Sabbat, and why?” For those not sure, a Sabbat is a major holidays in the Pagan or Wiccan paths. They are generally based upon seasonal changes and/or earth rotation. Here is a good concise description of each one.
It’s a tough question. I find positive aspects about each one, and my favorite Sabbat has changed often. When I first came to Paganism, Yule was my favorite, because it was the closest one associated with Christmas, which used to be my favorite holiday. Eventually, as my path took a goth turn, Samhain was my favorite. As the hippie in me kicked back in, I found Ostara to be my favorite, with the promise of spring.
While I love spring and summer, that time of year carries some requirement for outdoor fun and family/friend parties. For me, Memorial Day, and especially the Fourth of July, usher in almost impossible expectations of celebrations. As our family has dwindled, along with the number of friends, so have our opportunities for celebrations, the likes you see peddled by advertisers on TV. While we have grandchildren, some are out-of-town, and time is divided with all the sets of grandparents that come with divorced families.
Yule has much the same level, perhaps even greater levels of expectations. Our family Yule/Christmas celebrations have become a huge effort on everyone’s part to get together. Thanksgiving is completely fractured. Too many dinners, too little time and stomach room.
As a result of all this, I would have to say that Mabon is my favorite Sabbat, followed by Samhain. Mabon signals a slower time of year, featuring a couple of months without holiday demands. The weather calms down, and offers some really comfortable temps before winter sets in. Samhain is simply a fun, goth holiday.
Reading over this, I guess I sound like a holiday Scrooge. The fractured time with what family is left, combined with fewer friends have dimmed the celebratory aspect of holidays, to be sure. We struggled mightily with that for years, but have now learned to lower our expectations, and just be happy with what comes.
I don’t do lavish celebrations or rituals for any of the Sabbats. I used to, but with my transition to a more relaxed, cottage witchcraft path, small celebrations or rituals are the rule of the day. I do, however, stay mindful of the basis of the Sabbats. It can be easy to get caught up in celebrating, but remembering why these Sabbats exist is really the most important factor.
Perhaps a deeper psychological explanation than the Twitter question required, but there you have it.