Mabon: Autumn Harvest

As a calendar publisher, we immerse ourselves in information about all kinds of holidays and their related traditions. Changes of the season are especially ripe with many celebrations around the world. Today is the Autumnal Equinox also known to some as Mabon. Here’s a bit more about Mabon:

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2018 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth. Click for more info.

Archaeological findings of prehistoric cultures in the British Isles reveal that important festivals observed the year’s equinoxes and solstices. In ancient history, Celtic peoples observed these days as the four Quarter Days: Ostara (Vernal Equinox), Litha (Summer Solstice), Yule (Winter Solstice), and Mabon (Autumnal Equinox). Today, Wiccans and Neo-pagans, who draw many traditions from Celtic culture, retain the Mabon tradition. Some communities refer to the day simply as “autumn harvest” or “autumn sabbat. ”

According to Welsh legend, Mabon was a magical youth renowned for his hunting skills. His mother held him captive in a cave, but the warrior Culhwch, with the aid of several animals of the forest, came to the boy’s rescue. For many present-day believers, Culhwch’s search for Mabon symbolizes everyone’s search for the inner child.

Typical Wiccan and Neo-pagan celebrations of Mabon, which take place throughout the world, are circle ceremonies that recognize various harvest themes. A ceremonial site— often an altar—will be decorated with items like corn, apples, wine, or black and white candles (the light and dark colors represent the equinox). Participants may tell stories, light candles, chant, dance, or recite invocations.

Excerpt from: Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 5th Ed., published by Omnigraphics


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