Jump to content
Talbot Michaels

Welcome Guest!

Welcome to UK Pagan; The Valley

Like most online communities we require you to register for an account before we give you access to read and post.

Only a small number of our forum areas can be read without registering for an account.

Please consider supporting us to help keep our Website and Facebook groups online. Become a Patron!

Totally Confused Newbie!


Elowen
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi there,

I've been looking on various sites for info on the 8 festivals and one thing has me totally confused, and that is the dates of the festivals.

 

Imbolc for instance is sometimes mentioned as being celebrated on the 1st Feb and elsewhere as being on the 2nd Feb! Which is it? I understand that pagans often start celebrating the evening before so is it saying that Imbolc is the evening of the 1st through the 2nd?

The problem is, I haven't seen that dual date given for the other festivals, excepting the solar ones which are slightly variable.

Beltane for example is always said to be celebrated on 1st May, so does that mean 30th April/1st May, or 1st/2nd May?!!

Same with Lughnasadh. Is that 31st July/1st Aug or 1st/2nd Aug?

 

The only one not stated as being celebrated on the 1st of a month appears to be Samhain, but it's universally celebrated in the evening anyway!

 

So basically when it states that a festival is celebrated on a particular date, are they meaning on that date "and on the preceding evening" or, on that date "in the daytime"?

 

I know there's no set right or wrong, but as a newbie I prefer to have that structure in order to feel like I'm "doing it right", at least until I get more familiar with things.

Besides, at the moment I also need a date to put on the calendar to remind me to celebrate in the first place! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please consider supporting us to help keep our Website and Facebook groups online.

Right, shall we get the important bits out of the way first? :D

 

There's no "Pagan Police" to check when you're doing festivals and whether you're doing them "right", or on the "right" date.

 

Not everyone follows the so-called Wheel of the Year, either at all or to the letter. So people here (and in real life) might not bother with, say, Mabon (I don't), or any of these festivals because they're not part of thee own path.

 

You can celebrate the festivals when it suits you and when it fits with your schedule. Up here in the frozen North, Imbolc, in the sense of when lambing begins, isn't necessarily on Feb 1st, 2nd or even 3rd, but a couple of weeks later. Possibly. Harvest depend on the kind of summer we had, so it's daft to fix upon the same date every year for Lammas. I haven't yet Wassailed my apple trees: it's so cold I'm going to leave off waking up the dryads until I can see signs of Spring :D And when I do mark the festivals, it's usually late in the evening because I work full time and don't get time to myself until before bedtime. Unless I've taken the day off, which I do for Beltane, Samhain and Yule.

 

If you go back into threads here talking about Sabbats, you'll see people saying that they're celebrating on different dates depending on what suits best. I honestly don't think the Gods mind :)

 

As for the day to day, night to night thing, the Celts' day ran from sunset to sunset so that's probably why there's the slight difference in dates, but as you can see from above, it's really not that important. The main thing is to notice the changing seasons, when they happen and how you mark them is up to you :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it usually comes down to personal preference or, depending on your lifestyle, when you can fit it in ;)

 

Personally, I start celebrating the evening before, so Imbolc for me would be 31st Jan/ 1st Feb and Beltane 30th April/1st May. However, I am self-taught and have led quite a soliatry path so far, so could be doing it wrong, but my gut feeling tells me that you should do whatever feels right for you :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Im not free till the 3rd so hopefully ( weather permitting ) I'll be celebrating then.

I dont think there is any right or wrong, I just go with the flow :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being Heathen, I don't do the wheel, anyway. :D Having said that, I do celebrate Beltane and Samhain, becuase it please me and because there is an oldish English celebration of "Maying", which occurred on 1 May or last day of April, and because Samhain tends (in some part of the UK anyway) to roughly coincide with Winter Nights. Oh, and the wheel pinched Yule from us, anyway. ;)

 

But not Imbolc. Not my thing.

 

And the problem of 'night before' is one discussed in the heathen community in relation to Mothers Night (the first day of Yule). If one takes Bede, does it occur on the night of 23rd December or 24th December? if modern practice, is it the night before the solstice? As Pomona says, as the lunar calendars (which included the old Anglo Saxon and Celtic calendars) started the day at sunset of the evening before, then that explains why Beltane begins on the evening of 30th April, Samhain on the evening of 31st October etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well now I feel silly for asking, as I figured you'd say as much!:rolleyes:

 

I do understand there is no right or wrong way to do things, but as Katie_Baggins said, I am also self-teaching and going solo, and want to try to do things as right as possible, well, maybe as "mainsteamed" might be the better word.

 

I guess it's going to be a bit of a learning curve, as everything I've ever celebrated before has been on specific days despite the various traditions!

 

OK, I'm going to take it as being the first of the month, ( also a nice way to celebrate the arrival of a new month) and if I remember the night before, even better! :D

 

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quite right :D

 

The thing is, there is no "mainstream". Sure, the books that you get in WH Smith etc would make you think that, but the cycle of the seasons doesn't adhere to fixed dates (apart from the Solstices and Equinoxes), and the idea of the Wheel is to mark the change of the seasons, so it makes more sense to mark the change when you actually see the signs. IMVHO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quite right :D

 

The thing is, there is no "mainstream". Sure, the books that you get in WH Smith etc would make you think that, but the cycle of the seasons doesn't adhere to fixed dates (apart from the Solstices and Equinoxes), and the idea of the Wheel is to mark the change of the seasons, so it makes more sense to mark the change when you actually see the signs. IMVHO.

 

Well for instance Beltane/roodmas can't be celebated until the May flowers & you can smell the scent in the air. I think Imbolc/Candlemas can't be celebrated until the first signs of plants start shooting from the ground. Although how things are going with climates that could happen before Yule :o . Others may also wait for a certain aspect of the moon to appear before getting on with things depending if that person wanted to do a certain type of magic in conjuction with a festival.

So you really have to observe the wheel of the year, books can give you pointer what to look for, but to celebrate everything, you really have to get out there & observe things for yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well for instance Beltane/roodmas can't be celebated until the May flowers & you can smell the scent in the air. I think Imbolc/Candlemas can't be celebrated until the first signs of plants start shooting from the ground. Although how things are going with climates that could happen before Yule :o

 

 

Or, where I'm currently living (buried in the Rocky Mountain snow) Imbolc won't arrive until well after the Spring Equinox! :blink: Can't wait to get back to England to have proper seasons at the proper times again! :)

 

As the 1st is going to be rather busy I've decided to do something low key - eat some seed cake & ale, watch the sunset and maybe light some tea lights (as it's all I've got) and try to learn more about Brighid, then take a nice walk in the park at the weekend to feed the ducks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds lovely, Elowen :)

 

I agree with Pomona and Tibbington about not celebrating until you start to see the signs - that's a very valid point.

It seems that in England, winter is trying to put on a last show strength at the moment and we had our one and only flurry of snow down hereon Monday. It has also been bitterly, bitterly cold and we've had thick frosts the past few mornings :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As we are pagans, we are free to choose what we do, when we do it and with whom we celebrate - no "rights" or "wrongs" just differences in practice and belief!

Our calendar is a relatively modern imposition on the seasons and really only bears relevance as a general pointer to time passing. The "wheel of the year", in my personal view, is the eight-spoken wheel of the festivals I observe and I like the analogy of the "turning" or the rolling out of the year ahead of me along my path! Besides all of which, I just love having so many occasions to celebrate ... who wants to wait until Easter when in between we have Imolc and Equinox :D

We had a formal celebration of Imolc last weekend when friends could travel to be with us. Today, is a more personal happening, involving Bride and the little forge we have here on our land .. she is the goddess of blacksmiths, amongst other things!

So however you choose and whenever you choose and with whom you choose ... to celebrate this season ... have a lovely time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What was going to be a solitary celebration (as I haven't told my family I've become pagan yet!) ended up even better than planned.

I decided to float the candles in water which caught the attention of my 2 youngest kids (10 & 12) so they gathered round to do their reading in the candlelight. When they were finished we listened to some beautiful Imbolc music set to pictures on You Tube together, and basically just enjoyed some (rare!) peaceful moments together talking about Imbolc until my husband got home!

Perfect!

Can't wait for Equinox now! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is only the fact that we now often celebrate alone that this kind of question get asked. If you look at the modern secular equivalent of such celebrations*, the village fete or wakes then these celebrations are decided by consensus or tradition. The idea of a fixed date for a village fete is ridiculous, it has to work around the normal life of the community so you don't have it during a world cup or jubilee or olympics or week of national mourning and so on and this is how it has always been done. The church has always struggled to impose a calendar upon seasonal celebration and has largely failed apart from certain days such as Christmas and Easter, harvest festivals may take place at any time over a period of about six weeks. If we apply such common sense to the wheel of the year then the right time to celebrate is when it is right for you and any community you might be privileged to share it with. My Imbolc is tomorrow when my fellow Druids and I are going for a walk to find signs of spring and then retiring to a succession of hostelries for to drink and revel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What was going to be a solitary celebration (as I haven't told my family I've become pagan yet!) ended up even better than planned.

 

That's lovely! So pleased it worked that way for you :)

 

 

The church has always struggled to impose a calendar upon seasonal celebration and has largely failed apart from certain days such as Christmas and Easter, harvest festivals may take place at any time over a period of about six weeks.

 

I suppose that started mainly after the second war war. Before then, the church year pretty well held sway. It was a year I was very familiar with, as I was one of those people who attended all the services - including the little known but immensely moving evening service on Maundy Thursday, when the altar is stripped and crosses swathed in black material.

 

In times past, the year was governed by the year-cycle of church services. People even knew the collects (prayers) of the old prayer book, which changed from week to week, so a particular collect in early December that begins "Stir us, O Lord" means that week is known as "stir up Sunday" and that's when Christmas puddings are to be made. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose that started mainly after the second war war. Before then, the church year pretty well held sway.

 

I suppose it depends on where you are in the country and how much oversight there was. I know that locally there are letters in the archives telling the clergy that the date of Easter is non-negotiable. These date back to the 1700s and 1800s when we were part of Lichfield dicocese, some 60 miles away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Moonsmith
      I’ve posted a link (in links) to a BBC article in today’s news just to illustrate a bit of the colourful side of Paganism.  Perhaps it will do something to balance my prosaic take on the subject. i know little of Witchcraft but I enjoyed the article and like her approach.  
    • Ellinas
      👍 It's as good a position as any and better than quite a few.  
    • Stonehugger
      Yes, it was in Nettle's "Who are your deities?" thread. I said "I seem to have become an atheist. That was never my plan, but here I am." Veggiedancer later said it better than me - "I don’t exactly believe in deities as such. I think they come from  our minds. Archetypes, ways of identify or characterising the spirit/ magic/ life or whatever it is we sense around us. Ways our minds try to explain the unexplainable to us???"
    • Moonsmith
      I’m probably second guessing Nettle wrongly but it wasn’t all that long ago that you would have read posts about alters, magic, Shamanism, spells etc. I think it was either Teatimetreat or Drachenfach that had a hex on her handbag and her car.  When the car was stolen it crashed and the thief was caught. I agree and would very much like to see more of the colourful side of Paganism back here.  Quite right Ellinas.  I do not understand how anyone can claim to be Pantheist (or even pantheist) and atheist at the same time even though the most prominent Pantheists do exactly that.  As I’ve said elsewhere: why can’t they call themselves Panists.  The prefix “pan” means everything and everywhere as in “pandemic”.  The god’s name arose from the adjective so it wouldn’t necessarily mean a devotee of Pan. pee ess - it may be worth mentioning that there are a vast number of belief groups under the umbrella word Paganism.  Druids Witches, Polytheist and Shaman are only a small part of what the greater picture of Paganism depicts. Dunno and don’t care are probably the biggest groups.
    • Ellinas
      All the above, plus the impression of a preponderance of atheism is currently, as well as historically, inaccurate.  Certainly, I am no atheist.  I believe MS rejects the term as applicable to himself.  Stonehugger, I think, recently said he had headed in that direction, but I've not seen the other resident atheists for a while. However, our ideas of deity are not the same, necessarily.
×
×
  • Create New...