Guest Author - Deanna Joseph
Celebrations and festivals are an important part of life. They provide opportunities for initiations and give us the chance to celebrate the happy occasions in our lives. They uplift us in times of trouble and help us to remember we are part of a community; that we truly aren’t alone in this world.
The faeries believe that families and friendships are of the utmost importance, and should be treated as such. So festivals and celebrations are an important part of faerie life. The faerie festivals, known as the féiles (pronounced fayluhs), are celebrated eight times throughout the year, and are based on the changing of the seasons.
The most important féiles are the ancient Celtic fire festivals (or quarters), now more commonly known as the cross quarter days. The cross quarter days fall directly between the solstices and the equinoxes and are known as Imbolc (February 1), Beltaine (May 1), Lughnasadh (August 1), and Samhain (October 31).
Samhain – October 31-November 1
Samhain (pronounced Sow En) is the Celtic New Year celebration, and starts at sunset on October 31. The veil between the worlds is thin, and the dead easily affect the realm of the living. At this time thanks were given for the harvest and the ancestors were honored.
Yule – December 21 (or so)
The Winter Solstice, or Yule, is the longest night of the year. Darkness seems to hold the power over the land, but then with the rise of the sun, the light is reborn, growing stronger with each day.
Imbolc – February 1
Imbolc celebrates the return of spring and honors the goddess, Brigid. The birth of the lambs, and the first buds promise that soon the days will be warm again.
Ostara – March 21 (or so)
The Spring Equinox, or Ostara, is the moment when the light finally takes over land. The days now start to grow longer than the night, and the land is green and growing. Spring has arrived.
Beltaine – April 30-May 1
Also known as May Day, Beltaine celebrates fertility and light.
Midsummer – June 21 (or so)
The Summer Solstice, or Midsummer, is the moment when the light is at it fullest.
Lughnasadh – August 1
The time of the first harvest, Lughnasadh is a time to honor talents and accomplishments.
Mabon – September 21 (or so)
The Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, was the first of the major harvests, and the moment when both light and darkness seemed to hold the power over the land. The days will begin to grow shorter as the land prepares for the sleep of winter.
The Faerie Festivals, no matter how you choose to celebrate them, are moments to reconnect with loved ones, and give thanks for the good things in life. They are reminders that the wheel is in constant motion and we are in a constant cycle of birth and rebirth.