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            Within  the Pagan  community  there  are  many holidays  and  Sabbats
      celebrated  for various means, and not all celebrate each holiday/Sabbat in
      the same exact way or for the same reasons. The following is a general list
      of the Holidays most common between all the Sects within Neo-Paganisim.
      YULE   (Winter Solstice, December 20-23 (varies according to the particular
              date on the standard calendar according to when the Solstice will
                      occurastronomically)).Longest nightof theyear, theturning  
                 point whenthe days shall afterwardsgrow longer as winterbegins  
                    its passageinto thecoming spring.It is,inthe Goddessworship, 
      the time when she gives forth again to the birth of the Divine Sun         
      child who shall be both child and eventually lover and father of           
      the next child in the cycle. Winter Solstice for pagans is a time          
      of feasting and the exchanging of gifts and is the original Holiday        
      that the Christian religions modified into their own Christmas,            
      even upto the birth of the child (Most theologians who have spent          
      time studying the birth of Jesus admit he was born in either March         
      or April, not the celebrated Christmas date we all know from the           
      standard calendar - it was moved to this date to help induce Pagans      to
      give up their old ways yet allow them their holidays during the      spread
      of Christianity thru Europe and the British Isles).                        
      Traditional adornments are a Yule Log, usually of oak, and a               
      combination of mistletoe and holly (also all later plagiarized into        
      Christian ways).
      CANDLEMAS  (Brigid's Day, February  2nd) Not common to  all pagans, this is
      very popular with Wiccans and various Celtic sects. Brigid is the 
      Celtic goddess of fire and inspiration (Poetry, smithcraft and   healing)
      as well as yet another representation of the Fertility of   Femininity  and
      Love.  Brigid had such a strong following among the    Celtics   that   the
      Christian church decided it was easier to assimilate   her  into their  own
      system, and so there came about the making of Saint    Brigit  and all  the
      stories they created about her so that her   followers  would  leave  their
      old beliefs enough so they would not side    with  the   Druids,  who  were
      known at that time as 'the snakes' because   of  their   tendency  to  have
      tamed snakes that were used to help produce  various  healing  mixtures via
      their venom, and who were violently     opposing  the  Catholic church.  In
      History, of 
           course, the druids lost against the overwhelming odds presented by the
           church, led by a man who would then be himself sainted by the church, 
           their Saint Patrick (who was no clergyman but a warrior). Thus 
      Christian rule of various sorts came into Ireland. Handcrafts are     often
      sacrificed to Brigid or dedicated to her as they are started on  this  day.
      Its celebration is done with many candles and as usual much      feasting.
      The Christians also took, moved slightly and used this      d a t e     b y
      creating St. Valentine and using the day for one of chaste  l   o   v   e
      Eostar Ritual (Spring Equinox, March 20-23 dependant on actual astronomical
           event) This is the start in the pagan year of spring, at least among
           Wiccans and Celtics. The first flowers are praised and the Gods and
           Goddesses thanked for the true return to happier times for all. Eostar
                is oneof the more colorful holidays, not one of the somber colors
      found in Yule and Candlemas. Feasting and socializing are the    important
      factors in this holiday as well as the celebration of the   return of color
      to the natural world. In the Christian  calendar,      again to  draw early
      worshipers, they marked this as the final days and     rebirth   of   Jesus
      (when according to history he died in June!)
      Beltane (May Eve, April 30th-May 1st) Most important to pagans, save  f o r
      Samhain, I don't know of any Pagan group that doesn't celebrate  t  h  i  s
      holiday in some way.  Beltane is the  great Fertility rite  of life,       
      starting at dusk on the 30th and continuing until the dawn of the 1st.     
      The union of the God and Goddess to conceive the sun-child to be takes     
      place upon this holiday, no matter which tradition of paganisim is 
           involved. Beltane is the one holiday most discouraged by the 
      Christians, who didn't even use it as a point for a holiday of their  o w n
      because the power and nature of the day involved. Still, even in 
      Christianized Ireland the May day dance of the Maypole remained, as   d i d
      the giving of flowers to those you loved or cared for as friends.     T h e
      Maypole is a symbol of the union of the God and Goddess to create     life,
      the pole itself a phallic symbol while the dancers and their     streamers
      or vines of flowers represent the fertile womb of the goddess    a s    i t
      takes in the Phallus of the god and takes in his seed. Besides   t   h   e
      Maypole often a bonfire is present, and members of the group are 
      encouraged to jump the flames for luck and their own fertility. Food, drink
      and love are the order of the evening. In most sects the    celebration  of
      Beltane will become one large orgy as the participants      are  encouraged
      to enact their own unions of love. Beltane is the time      o f     m a n y
      marriages/handfastings in the pagan community (in some it is     the  point
      where one chooses to begin and end relationships of a  physical    nature).
      Clothing is very optional in most get togethers on     this   holiday,  and
      mostly it is sensual and colorful. Even those sects    that   are   prudish
      about things tend to accept the rules of the holiday,  as it is the holiday
      of free love. It is said that a child conceived   on this day will  grow up
      to wield great power and knowledge and to be      healthier  than upon  any
      Litha (Summer Solstice, June 20-23, dependant on actual astronomical event)
           Held on the longest day of the year, the Solstice is the celebration 
           of lights triumph over darkness and that of the bountiful beauty that
           light brings into life. Flowers are common in the circle, roses and
                brightcheerful wildflowers are upon the altar and usually worn by
      all.   It is  the changing point  of the  year, and the  celebration of the
      spiral dance of the year is common among Wiccans. It a celebration    with
      much joy, and much feasting. Many wiccans will attire themselves      i   n
      bright colors and equally bright adornments of flowers. Litha'   usual food
      fare may include honeycakes or cornbread. Litha is not      celebrated   by
      all sects nor in the same way.
      Lughnasad (August 1st)  The great corn ritual  of Wiccan belief (in  Celtic
      realms this is the celebration of the wheat god, corn is an 
      Americanization and it is possible there is an American Indian 
      traditional holiday near this date that was borrowed by the American 
      Neopagans). THis is the big celebration of the harvest (Sort of a     Pagan
      Thanksgiving, but the time clock is different as is that of the  Celtics).
      Much feasting and dancing occur, thou it is a bit more      somber     than
      many of the other holidays.  Some Pagans celebrate this     day  as  merely
      the day to bake their bread and cakes for the coming   winter  and  do   no
      actual rituals save that of blessing the foods    prepared.
      Mabon (Fall Equinox, Sept. 20-23, dependant on actual astronomical event)
           A lesser holiday, this is not widely celebrated and is most come with
           Pure wiccan groups, especially those who are based in the works of 
           Starhawk and other Dianic sects. This is the weavers festival, and a
           braiding of cords are done in the process of casting a spell to
           add to ones life from what it is, each person weaving unto themselves
           what they wish and the coven as a whole weaving all the cords together
           to unite the power and efforts symbolically.
      SAMHAIN  (Halloween Oct 31st) THe year ends traditionally in Wiccan beliefs
           with  this holiday. Samhain is said to be  the period of time when the
      gates between the worlds are least guarded and the veils their   thinnest.
      It is a time for dimensional openings and workings, and     a l s o   t h e
      celebration of the death of the year king. It is a somber   holiday, one of
      dark clothes and thoughts for the dead, it is said to  be  the  time   when
      those of necromantic talents can speak with the dead   and it is certainly
      a time to remember ones dead. It is a time of     endings  of relationships
      and bad situations and it is the time when   one  can  see  the glimmer  of
      hope in the future. THere are as many   concepts  attached to  this holiday
      as any other.

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