We've all heard of the popular Wiccan 'Wheel of the Year'. The eight festivals from Norse/Germanic cultures and the four Celtic fire festivals all put together for our ease and convenience. 

The idea of the Wheel of the Year is a modern concept, pieced together by Wicca founder Gerald Gardner and Druid and OBOD founder, Ross Nichols. Over time this Wheel concept as grown in popularity and is now used by not just Wiccans and Druids, but also by other Pagans and even Witches. 

Here at POTN, we wanted to explore all the other Pagan religions throughout the world that get sometimes, overshadowed by the Wheel of the Year. 

KEY:               ROMAN                GREEK/HELLENIC               NORSE                 CELTIC              ANGLO-SAXON/GERMANIC               OTHER

JANUARY

 

KALENDS

1st January

Origins: Ancient Greece/Rome

Observed by: Hellenic/Roman polytheists

Honouring Janus/Juno, first day of the Year. Kalends brought us the word 'calendar'.

 

ÞORRABLÓT (THORRABLÓT)

End of January/beginning of February

Origins: Iceland

Observed by: Heathens, Asatru

Midwinter Festival honouring Thor, usually by feasting and poetry.

 

FEBRUARY

 

KALENDS

1st February

Origins: Ancient Greece/Rome

Observed by: Hellenic/Roman polytheists

Celebration of the first of the month.

 

IMBOLC

2nd February

Origins: Celtic polytheism /Ireland, as St. Brigid's Day

Observed by: Most neopagans, Wiccans, Druids, Asatru (as Charming of the Plow) 

Imbolc is the most widely-known and observed pagan holiday in the months of January and February. It falls at the beginning of spring/end of the winter for the Celtic peoples; marking the changing of the seasons, as most holidays do. St. Brigid is a Christianised form of or inspired by the Celtic fertility goddess Brigid who is celebrated on this day. 

 

EYVIND KINNRIFI REMEMBRANCE

9th February

Origins: Norway under Olaf I 995-1000

Observed by: Asatru, Heathen, Norse polytheists

Honouring the martyrdom of Eyvind Kinnrifi who was tortured to death for his belief in the Old Gods and Goddesses and refusal to convert to Christianity.

 

PARENTALIA

13th-21st February

Origins: Ancient Rome

Observed by: Greco-Roman polytheists

Translating to 'Ancestors Day', Parentalia is a nine-day celebration of deceased ancestors. Historically it was observed by feasting and making offerings and sacrifices to the dead and spirits of the underworld. 

 

VÁLI'S BLOT

14th February

Origins: Old Norse

Observed by: Heathens, Asatru, Norse polytheists

Váli's Blot is considered by some Asatru to be the Norse equivalent of Valentine's Day, but is widely acknowledged as a season changing festival. A day for marriage and celebrating with family and friends, and for remembrance of Váli, the son of Odin who defeated Höðr on this day. 

 

LUPERCALIA

15th February

Origins: Ancient Rome

Observed by: Greco-Roman polytheists

Festival thought to honour a wolf who raised abandoned princes, celebrated originally by sacrificing goats to the gods, feasting, and, for fertility, nudity and fornication.

 

LESSER ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES

17th-23rd February

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists

Initiation to the cult of Persephone and Demeter by sacrificing a pig. Prelude to Greater Mysteries, initiations held on these dates. Once completed, initiates could then move onto Greater Mysteries in the autumn. 

 

ANTHESTERIA

27th February - 1st March 2021

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists

Athenian festivals dedicated to Dionysus and the dead. Held around the full moon in the month of Anthesterion, which in the Gregorian calendar this year roughly translates to 27th February.

 

THE DISTING/DÍSABLÓT

End of February/beginning of March

Origins: Uppsala, Sweden

Observed by: Heathens, Asatru, Norse polytheists

Celebration of Valkyries and other female spirits, called dísir. Sacrifices were made for a good harvest. Celebrated still by an annual market in Sweden. 

MARCH

 

KALENDS

1st March

Origins: Ancient Greece/Rome

Observed by: Hellenic/Roman polytheists

Honouring the god Mars/Ares. Kalends brought us the word 'calendar'.

 

OSTARA/EARRACH

20th March

Origins: Anglo Saxon paganism, popularised as Ostara by Wicca

Observed by:  Anglo Saxon Pagans, Wiccans, Neopagans, Druids (as Alba Eilir), Heathens (as Summer Finding), Ásatrú (as Sigrblót) 

The northern hemisphere's vernal equinox, the word Ostara was introduced though Wicca and named for the goddess Eostre. Surprisingly unrelated to Easter in all but name, Ostara symbolises the beginning of spring. As a seasonal holiday it is widely celebrated by many different groups of pagans. 

 

RAGNAR LODBROK'S DAY

28th March

Origins: Icelandic Sagas

Observed by: Ásatrú 

Day of remembrance for Ragnar Lodbrok, Viking King of legend 

 

APRIL

 

KALENDS/VENERALIA

1st April

Origins: Ancient Greece/Rome

Observed by: Hellenic/Roman polytheists

Celebration of the first of the month, this particular one honouring the goddess Venus.

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR HAAKON SIGURDSSON

9th April

Origins: Norway, C9th

Observed by: Ásatrú

Day of remembrance for ruler of Norway who claimed lineage to Odin in the Icelandic Sagas. 

 

WALPURGISNACHT

30th April

Origins: German Christianity, originally Saint Walpurga was known for banishing witches and other pests

Observed by: LaVeyan Satanists

Anton LaVey chose to celebrate this holiday as a follow up to the spring equinox and due to its past association with witchcraft. 

 

HEXENNACHT (WITCHES' NIGHT)

30th April

Origins: German folklore, as Walpurgisnacht but witches were alleged to convene with the devil in this night

Observed by: Temple of Satan as 'a solemn holiday to honor those who were victimized by superstition'. 

MAY

 

BEALTAINE/BELTANE

1st May

Origins: Celtic (Ireland/Scotland/Isle of Man) 

Observed by: Wiccans, Neopagans, Celtic reconstructionists, Ásatrú/Heathens (as May Day) 

One of the more well known pagan festivals, Beltane is a festival of fire and the beginning of the summer. Also widely referred to as May Day, it is celebrated by lighting fires. 

 

KALENDS

1st May

Origins: Ancient Greece/Rome

Observed by: Hellenic/Roman polytheists

Honouring the goddess Maia, for whom the month may have been named. 

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR Guðröðr of Guðbrandsdál

9th May

Origins: C11 Norway, Icelandic Sagas

Observed by: Ásatrú, Norse, heathens

Guðröðr had his tongue removed by Óláfr for rebelling against violent conversion from Norse paganism to Christianity. 

JUNE

 

KALENDS

1st June

Origins: Ancient Greece/Rome

Observed by: Hellenic/Roman polytheists

Anniversary of temples to Juno Moneta (protectress of money, her temple was where coins were made), Mars/Ares (god of war), and the Tempestates (goddesses of storms). 

 

ARRHEPHORIA

3rd Skirophorion (translates to mid June) 

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic reconstructionists

Feast in celebration of Athena and fertility. 

 

MIDSUMMER/SUMMER SOLSTICE

21st June

Origins: Agricultural holiday/longest day observed for centuries by many civilisations. Christianity can date to as early as C4th

Observed by: Wiccans/Germanic neopagans (as Litha), Asatru/Heathens, Druids (as Alban Hefin) 

One of the main four holidays in the Wheel of the Year and popularised by Wiccans and neopagans as Litha which is taken from the anglo-saxon words for June/July, this is the longest day of the year and the middle point and sometimes considered the beginning of summer. 

JULY

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR UNNR/AUD THE DEEP MINDED

9th July

Origins: C9th Iceland

Observed by: Ásatrú, Heathens, Norse reconstructionists

Aud was a traveller in the 9th century moving between Dublin, the Hebrides, Orkney, and finally Iceland following the deaths of her husband and son. This day is to honour her memory. 

 

HERACLEIA

July/August 

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists 

Festival dedicated to Heracles the demigod and his death, involving feasting and celebration. 


 

AUGUST

 

LUGHNASADH/LAMMAS

1st August

Origins: Celtic Britain (Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man)

Observed by: Wiccans, Neopagans, Christians (as Lammas), Ásatrú (as Freyfaxi) 

Named for the god Lugh, this festival is one of the Celtic harvest festivals and marks the beginning of the harvesting months. It was celebrated by climbing mountains, bull sacrifice, offerings, and feasting. Handfasting is commonplace with Wiccans in modern times. 

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR REDBAD, KING OF THE FRISIANS

9th August

Origins: C7th Frisia (area of Germany/Netherlands) 

Observed by: Ásatrú, Heathens, Norse reconstructionists

Celebration of the last known ruler of Frisia prior to its assimilation by what is now part of France. 

SEPTEMBER

NOUMENIA

8th September 

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists

Celebration of new Hellenic lunar month. Offerings of honey and incense made to household deities. 

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR HERMANN THE CHERUSCAN

9th September

Origins: C9th CE

Observed by: Heathens, Ásatrú

Hermann the Cheruscan, also known as Arminius of the Cherusci tribe, led the defeat against the Romans at the Battle of Teutoberg Forest and is lauded for saving Eastern Germanic peoples from being conquered by the Roman Empire. 

 

AUTUMN EQUINOX (NORTHERN HEMISPHERE) 

22nd September 

Origins: 1970s neopaganism

Observed by: Wiccans and Neopagans (as Mabon), Ásatrú (as Winter Finding) 

Named Mabon by prominent Wicca and Neopagan Aidan Kelly, after the Welsh mythological figure Mabon ap Moldron, the autumn equinox is one of the harvest festivals and marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. Mabon is a relatively new pagan holiday not based on any specific historical festival, but traditionally people around the world would celebrate some kind of harvest festival around the end of September/beginning of October.

OCTOBER

PYANOPSIA

7th October

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists

Pyanopsia, or Pyanepsia, is a festival to honour Apollo, one of the most important deities, god of music, the sun, knowledge, healing, and archery - amongst other things. During the festival, two special offerings would be placed on doorways and carried to the temple. These offerings were a bean stew, and an olive branch wrapped in wool with honeys, pastries and seasonal fruits hanging from it.

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR LEIF EIRIKSSON

9th October 

Origins: C10th CE

Observed by: Heathens, Ásatrú, Norse pagans

Remembrance for Leif and his sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir, children of Erik the Red, who are cited with being the first Norse explorers in North America. 

 

THESMOPHORIA

12th-14th October

Origins: Ancient Greece

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists

Festival held in honour of Demeter Thesmophoros, goddess of agriculture, and her daughter Persephone, goddess of death and life, Queen of the Underworld. Celebrated primarily by women, this festival is linked with fertility and we know very little about it due to its secretive rites. It is thought that it involved the sacrifice of pigs (although some sources say women), and abstinence. 

 

REMEMBRANCE FOR ERIK THE RED

28th October

Origins: C9th CE

Observed by: Heathens, Ásatrú, Norse pagans

Erik the Red, probably named for the colour of his hair and beard, was the first permanent European settler on Greenland. His children were explorers too, who went to America, and although his wife converted to Christianity, Erik remained faithful to his Norse pagan gods.

 

SAMHAIN (HALLOWE'EN)

31st October-1st November 

Origins: Gaelic - Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man

Observed by: Celtic pagans, Neopagans, Wiccans

Pronounced SOW-in (sow rhyming with cow), Samhain was originally a harvest festival marking the beginning of winter. The day itself is actually the 1st November, but celebrations begin on October 31st and this has become the accepted associated day. It's a festival of the dead, where the síthe, fae and spirits, can enter this realm from their own. Wiccans talk of a 'veil' thinning, meaning the boundary between worlds. Similar death related festivals around this time can be noted in other faiths from across the globe, and of course in the modern Hallowe'en.

 

WINTER NIGHTS (VETRNAETR), ÁLFABLÓT/DÍSABLÓT

31st October

Origins:

Celebrated by: Heathens, Ásatrú, Norse pagans

Winter Nights is mentioned in the Ynglinga Saga as one of the three greatest blessings of the year, the other two being Sigrblót in April, and þorrablót in late Jan/early Feb. Winter Nights is the celebration of the beginning of the winter season; Álfablót is a sacrifice to the elves, and Dísablót a sacrifice to the female spirits (dísir) and Valkyries. 

 

 

NOVEMBER

REMEMBRANCE FOR SIGRID THE HAUGHTY

9th November

Origins: C9th CE

Observed by: Heathens, Ásatrú, Norse pagans

It is not actually known whether Sigríð Storråda, or Sigrid the Haughty, was an actual historical figure, an amalgamation of a few, or simply a myth. The lore goes that she was proposed to multiple times and turned down many, but went on to orchestrate conflict when a potential suitor - Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway - attempted to convert her to Christianity. 

 

DECEMBER

REMEMBRANCE FOR EGILL SKALLAGRÍMSSON 

9th December 

Origins: C10th CE 

Observed by: Heathens, Ásatrú, Norse pagans 

Day celebrating the poet, farmer, and berserker Egill Skallagrímsson, who is recalled in The Icelandic Sagas by Snorri Sturluson. Egill is known for his many killings, and escaping death by writing an epic poem after being captured when washing up on our Northumberland coastline. 

SATURNALIA 

17th - 23rd December 

Origins: Ancient Rome 

Observed by: Roman polytheists, some Hellenic 

Similar to Yule and Lesser Dionysia, Saturnalia was the Roman winter festival celebrating the coming return of the sun and honouring the god Saturn. The standard feasting and drinking feature, and slaves would be treated as equals similar to Dionysia. Saturnalia is another festival cited as being picked up by Christians and used as inspiration for Christmas. 

WINTER SOLSTICE (YULE/MIDWINTER) 

21st December 

Origins: Germanic nations, as early as C4th CE 

Observed by: Norse pagans, Wiccans, Neopagans, LaVeyan Satanists, Ásatrú, Heathens, many Germanic nonpagan peoples 

Yule is the midwinter festival known commonly among pagans as a time for feasting, being with loved ones, remembering ancestors, and looking forward to the return of the light and warmer days. Many pagans will celebrate Yule for more than one day, some celebrating a week either side, some for longer, up to two months, and some for twelve days afterwards. True Yule would have originally been in January for midwinter, but King Haakon the Good 

moved it to coincide with the Christian celebrations in the 10th century, as told in the Ynglinga Saga. 

On the 24th December, Anglo Saxons are said to have celebrated 'Mothers Night' honouring female ancestors.

RURAL/LESSER DIONYSIA 

End of December/beginning of January 

Origins: Ancient Greece 

Observed by: Hellenic polytheists 

Smaller festival honouring the god Dionysus (Greater Dionysia took place in cities at the end of winter). Feasting, mask wearing to stop distinction between classes so that everyone could feel equal, sacrifices, parades, and phallic display were all used to celebrate -

A LIST OF PAGAN HOLIDAYS
CELEBRATED AROUND THE WORLD 
THROUGH THE YEAR

Each month more will be added to the list.
This page is currently being updated/edited.