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The major pagan holidays are Yule, Imbolc, Lupercalia, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain. Each of these holidays has its own unique history and meaning.

Yule is a holiday that celebrates the Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year and marks the beginning of winter. For many pagans this is a time to celebrate new beginnings. It is also a time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the coming one.

Imbolc is a holiday that celebrates the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is also known as Candlemas. This holiday is about purification and new beginnings. Many pagans use this time to do some form of cleansing, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual.

Lupercalia was an ancient pagan festival celebrated in February. The exact origins of the festival are unknown but it was most likely related to fertility and agriculture. Lupercalia involved attending feasts, sacrificial rites, and sexual license (including marriages). In recent years people have begun reviving this holiday as a way to celebrate sexuality and gender diversity. It is similar to modern day Valentine’s day.

Ostara is a holiday that celebrates the Spring Equinox. It is the first day of spring and marks the beginning of new growth. For many pagans this is a time to celebrate fertility, new beginnings, and rebirth. This holiday also has roots in ancient pagan festivals such as Easter which was originally a celebration of Eostre (a goddess associated with fertility).

Beltane is a holiday that celebrates the halfway point between the spring equinox and summer solstice. It is also known as May Day or Walpurgisnacht. Beltane traditionally involved bonfires, dancing around may poles, and other festivities to encourage good crops for the coming year. In recent years people have begun using this holiday as a time to celebrate nature, fertility, and sexuality.

Litha is a holiday that celebrates the Summer Solstice. It is the longest day of the year and marks the beginning of summer. For many pagans this is a time to celebrate growth, abundance, and vitality. This holiday has roots in ancient pagan festivals such as Midsummer which was originally a celebration of Lana (a goddess associated with agriculture).

Lughnasadh is a holiday that celebrates the halfway point between the summer solstice and fall equinox. It also goes by other names such as Lammas or August Eve/Day. Lughnasadh traditionally involved baking bread from the first wheat of the season, giving thanks for a good harvest, and celebrating fertility. In recent years people have begun using this holiday as a time to celebrate nature, earth-based religions, and lost loved ones.

Mabon is a holiday that celebrates the Fall Equinox. It is also known as Autumnal or Harvest equinox. Mabon marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. For many pagans this is a time to give thanks for all they have been blessed with over the year (including both material things and experiences).

Samhain is a holiday that celebrates the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It is also known as Halloween or All Hallows Eve. Samhain is a time to remember loved ones who have passed away, celebrate ancestors, and set intentions for the coming year. For many pagans this holiday marks the start of a new cycle both spiritually and materially.

These holidays have rich histories and every pagan and witch tradition celebrates them wildly differently. However, the common thread between all these holidays is that they offer opportunities for community, introspection, speaking with and for the dead, spell-work, and boundary pushing.

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