This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about the holidays we choose to celebrate.
Topic for the Week of 11/04: “How did or do you decide what holidays to celebrate?”
Although in the wheel of the year there are eight holidays, I really only dependably celebrate two of them from year to year. My family, as I was growing up, has always celebrated all eight.
In my case, the holidays mark seasonal transitions, and although I appreciate them and even enjoy spending time recognizing them through hiking and other activities in order to appreciate the transitions from one season to the next? I don’t celebrate all eight holidays on a dependable year-to-year basis.
I guess, then, that I should first begin by defining “celebrate” since I did just mention that recognize each shift in seasons regardless of “celebrating them” in a traditional sense.
So, for the purpose of this post, celebrating means to include ritual and/or activities that are performed on a specific day or days surrounding the holiday in question.
The holidays that my family celebrates are Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, and Mabon. Of these holidays, I dependably celebrate Samhain and Beltane every year without fail. These are the two points in the year where the veil within liminal spaces is at its thinnest, and for me they are not just the most powerful days of the year, but also the most sacred.
So there you have it! Although I consider the entire transition of season to season sacred and enjoyable, and appreciate them all in my own way. As far as holidays go? I really only go “all out” to celebrate just two of them.
Post Script Edit: As you just pointed out to me, I also celebrate both Thanksgiving (US) and Christmas (in a far less religious way).
These two are celebrated for specific reasons.
Thanksgiving involves visiting my mother’s house, and is celebrated because it’s a holiday she loves. A core part of her faith involves feeding others, and there is a lot of ritual and spellcraft that goes into the cooking on that day in her home. Each year, my sister and I visit her because this day is so very important to her (and the food is so goddamn good doesn’t hurt either).
Christmas on the other hand, is not a religious holiday for me. Instead it is something fun. It’s a chance to give friends and loved ones gifts, show appreciation and gratitude, and get gifts from them in turn. It’s a time for absolutely spectacular crooners music and amazing scents and sparkling lights. I do decorate (alibi sparingly usually), and we do exchange gifts, but it’s more like the holiday is an excuse to do these things rather than a spiritual experience.
So you’re right. Although they are not pagan holidays, nor spiritual in the sense of the other holidays that I sometimes incorporate into my year, they are absolutely holidays that I celebrate.