The Wheel of the Year: The 8 Festivals in the Wiccan Calendar

Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is a symbol represents the 8 festivals important to many pagans, Wiccans, and witches. These holidays — knows as Sabbats — follow a nature-based calendar and include four solar festivals and four seasonal festivals set in between them.

Because solstices and equinoxes are tied to exact astronomical moments, the holidays shift slightly from year-to-year. There is a celebration about every six weeks, so there’s always something to look forward to! At the end of this post, I’ve included the Wheel of the Year dates for 2024 and other years.

Wheel of the Year

If you choose to celebrate the festivals on the Wiccan calendar, how you choose to do so is up to you. If you’re part of a coven, you and your fellow witches may have follow certain rituals and customs connected to the holiday. If you are a solitary practitioner, take the time to learn about each Sabbat and learn about the colors, foods, and decorations associated with each.

If you want a wheel you can display your home, I love this pretty wall plaque. If you want to learn more about the holidays in depth, we have articles on each and go into more depth on each in our witchy planner. In the meantime, check out this book by Modern Witchcraft.

The Wheel of the Year Festivals:

  • Yule: December 19-23
  • Imbolc: February 1-2
  • Ostara: March 19-23
  • Beltane: April 30 – May 1
  • Litha/Midsummer: June 19-23
  • Lughnasadh: August 1-2
  • Mabon: September 20-24
  • Samhain: October 31 – November 1

The 8 Wiccan Sabbats

1. Yule (December 19-23)

In Wiccan tradition, the Goddess (in her Mother aspect) gives birth to the God on the longest night of the year (the winter solstice) and then, like the Earth during winter, rests.

In wider pagan traditions, Yule celebrates the coming of longer days and the return of the sun. Trees are decorated, Yule logs are burned in the fireplace to protect the home and bring good luck.


2. Imbolc (February 1-2)

Imbolc is the holiday during which some pagans give thanks to Brigid as well as to the increasing daylight, which comes with hope for an abundant spring. It is also a traditional holiday for rededications or for witch initiations.


3. Ostara (March 19-23)

The spring equinox (Ostara) is a holiday of renewal and abundance. For Wiccans, this is when the Goddess represents her Maiden aspect and when the god has become a young man. It’s a great time for planting seeds and celebrating the fertile spring.


4. Beltane (April 30 – May 1)

When I was growing up, I always thought Beltane was the coolest, but that’s because I thought of it only as the holiday in which you lit a bonfire and went and made love in the woods.

May Day is also celebrated by decorated and dancing around the maypole (representing the male aspect). And, it’s believed that, like at Samhain, the veil between the living and the spirit world is thinner. For Wiccans, this Sabbat is also a holiday of love and romance and when the God and Goddess come together.


5. Litha/Midsummer (June 19-23)

The summer solstice, or Litha, is when the days are the longest. Nature is at it’s peak and the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Pagans give thanks for all of this and at this time, ask for a rich harvest. For Wiccans, this is also when the god is at his full power.


6. Lughnasadh (August 1-2)

Lughnasadh marks the midpoint between summer and fall, and is the first harvest festival of the year. It’s a time for harvesting grains, giving thanks for the growth that has happened, and to enjoy the warmth and light that is still to come.

For Wiccans, Lughnasadh is marks when the god’s power begins to decline. And, for some pagans, it’s the time when the Celtic Sun God Lugh transfers his power to the grain. When the grain is harvested and baked into bread, his cycle of life is complete.


7. Mabon (September 20-24)

Mabon or the fall equinox is the second harvest festival. Traditionally, it’s when fruits and vegetables are harvested, when autumn begins, and when Wiccans believe the Goddess moves from Mother to Crone. It’s a time to give thanks for all that has been provided.


8. Samhain (October 31 – November 1)

Samhain, best known as Halloween, is Celtic New Year’s Eve and the final harvest. It’s when the veil between the world of the living and the dead is the thinnest and when pagans believe spirits easiest roam the earth and when it is easiest to communicate with them.

Samhain is a time to honor all those who have come before, for all that was gifted to us during the year, to ask for guidance, and to set intentions as the turning of the wheel begins again.

Wiccans believe this is when the god dies and when the Goddess both reaches her highest power as the Crone and is pregnant with the god that will be born at Yule. And hence, the cycle begins again. It is, because the divide between the world’s is at is thinnest, also one of the most powerful nights to do magic.


The Lesser Sabbats (Solar Holidays)

The 4 lesser Sabbats or quarter holidays are the two solstices and two equinoxes. They have origins in Germanic traditions and include: Yule (winter solstice), Ostara (spring equinox), Litha (summer solstice), and Mabon (fall equinox).

The Greater Sabbats (Cross-Quarter Days)

The greater sabbats or cross-quarter days fall approximately halfway between the greater sabbats and have origins in Celtic traditions. They include: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.


Wiccan Holidays: 2023 Sabbats

Holiday 2023 Date
Samhain Tuesday, October 31
Yule Thursday, December 21
Imbolc Wednesday, February 1 – February 2
Ostara Monday, March 20
Beltane Monday, May 1
Litha Wednesday, June 21
Lughnasadh Tuesday, August 1
Mabon Friday, September 22


Pagan Holidays: 2024 Dates

Holiday 2024 Date
Samhain Thursday, October 31
Yule Saturday, December 21
Imbolc Thursday, February 1 – February 2
Ostara Tuesday, March 19
Beltane Wednesday, May 1
Litha Thursday, June 20
Lughnasadh Thursday, August 1
Mabon Sunday, September 22

Wheel of the Year

The Pagan Grimoire
  1. Just confirming if these dates are applicable to the southern hemisphere. Your assistance is appreciated. Thank you.

  2. These eight festivals are designed to draw one’s attention to what one has gained and lost in the cyclical turn of the year.

  3. June 21st isnt a monday in 2022.. But it was in 2021, Is this the correct date but wrong weekday or vice versa, or was this just copy pasted?

  4. I have no idea where this info comes from, but I think it needs to be rechecked. Also, there is a Typo in the Greater or is it Lesser Sabbath section. This info is so confusing, as every other source says that the Greater Sabbaths ARE the solstices and equinoxes and the lesser are ones like Imbolc, but this info can’t seem to decide which is which.

    1. You’re correct. Greater sabbats are the quarters or equinoxes and solstices, lesser are cross quarters, the sabbats between them. Not sure why they haven’t corrected the info?

  5. Hi. Been looking for source of an iCal file/plugins for my iPad calendar. Manually entering each year. Much appreciate your listing, however, do you know of an “iCal” file for plugin ?

  6. Laugh Love Live
    The freedom of choice to practice the craft thst is WICCA
    The freedom of choice to choose to read the WICCAN REDE in itself shows the nature of the heart that will by the spell of words be also bound as they would bind snother to their will..
    This to me is important for the good of. all There is danger when the gifts of knowledge are used hy the spelling of the spoken words given power thru the essence taken from life Is a step backward and downward for humanities upward climb upon the ladder of life.
    May the light within that is the spark of life shine brightly fueld by the purpose of your spells to give what is good and wholesome what is needed by all is happiness to survive.

  7. Oh thank you for having 2022 dates posted here! I’m working on my custom calendars I make as holiday gifts, and I always like to include these observances along with lunar phases. Have a great year ahead!

  8. I am new to all the pagan / witch things and I would love to learn more about the holidays and the wheel of the year I have been reading a lot I will admit that a lot of it is really heard to under stand and my husband does not believe in witchcraft at all and some things are better left unsaid for me I do believe in witchcraft and I saw first hand what can be done in witchcraft thank you so much I would like to know if you have a news letter if so I would like to be on the email list for your news letter

  9. Bright Blessings! Just came across your site. Nice! But I have a question. Where are you getting your information? You have the Lesser & Greater Sabbat’s mixed up. The Equinoxes and Solstices are the Lesser Sabbats. While Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh are the GREATER Sabbats. I’ve been a practicing Witch for near on 25 years now, so I’m well versed in the Sabbats. Please fix this. I’d hate for our new witches to look silly in a conversation, just because they got such basic information wrong. 😉 Peace in Love & Light.

    May your harvest today be blessed with much bounty. 🌾

    1. Eek! Thank you. I’ve fixed this. I think my brain must have flipped the two when I was writing the post. Ugh. :facepalm: Let me know if you see anything else. <3

    2. Being a newer witch I appreciate you looking out for us. Not only is it embzy but just like everything that is judged there’s nothing worse then arguing your point with bad information.

    3. Thank you for the insight I’m trying to learn from the basics on my own so I’ve been doing research on every bit I don’t understand but I wanted to follow in my moms footsteps so again thank you!

  10. Just checking as they look out for us. But are these northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere dates. Asking as in southern hemisphere please and thank you

  11. I’m a bit confused about the dates. On the circle calendar it shows that it’s multiple days per holiday, but in the “WICCAN HOLIDAYS: 2021 SABBATS” it shows one specific day per holiday. which one should I put on my calendar?

    1. The multiple dates listed show the days that the holiday could fall on, and the specific date is the specific date for the holiday in that year. It was confusing to me at first too. Hope I helped if you didn’t already find the answer.

      1. I thought the multiple dates on the sabbats between equinoxes were because those sabbats begin on the evening of the first date and continue through the next day?

        1. It’s because the solar system doesn’t follow our Gregorian calendar. ;) Solstices and equinoxes are cosmic events between the earth and the sun—they always happen *about* the same time of year, but the exact date can change. The other holidays are figured by calendrical counting rather than celestial mechanics (though, I’m guessing they used to be more timed by heavenly happenings, like Easter even is!).

  12. Wonderful information, I always forget the date of some of the holidays. So I am putting in my BOS so no more forgetting. Thank you !

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