Every fall many religions and non-religions around the world celebrate the autumn equinox in one way or another. The day of celebration normally falls on either September 22nd or 23rd, depending on the placement of the leap year. This year the equinox will take place on September 23rd, but why should you celebrate and how should you do it?
Depending on your religious or non-religious affiliation, you may or may not even notice that the fall equinox takes place. On average, most people are only aware that there will be an even amount of light and dark, meaning there will be 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness on this day. To Pagans and Wiccans however, it is a day of celebration.
The holiday, known as Mabon, is a sabbat. A sabbat is considered a high holy day or a day of power. Mabon is one of eight of the seasonal celebratory days in which Pagans and Wiccans celebrate on the wheel of the year. Mabon is seen as the second harvest of the year and it is also when gardens are in full bloom and full of the bounty of nature. Mabon is thought of as the Pagan Thanksgiving, where they celebrate the passing of the year and in turn give thanks for everything they have been given.
According to Wiccan and Pagan spirituality, this is the time when the sun God prepares to depart and develop once again in the mother’s womb. The Goddess, both sad and joyful, will then anxiously wait for his rebirth in the Spring. This is the time when Pagans and Wiccans that have alters will begin to decorate them with various items such as acorns, leaves, pine cones, Indian corn, apples, pomegranate, gourds, and berries. Some Wiccans/Pagans may also use this time of year to harvest their gardens, bake breads, and harvest seeds from vegetables to use for planting next season. Since the rays of the sun are beginning to die, this is also a time to begin honoring the dead by placing apples, acorns, or pine cones on burial sites as well as having joyous celebrations in memoriam to the departed.
Most Wiccans/Pagans will focus their rituals on more balance and harmony and may align energies toward protection, wealth, security, prosperity, and self confidence. Other festivities for celebration could also include walking in the woods, scattering left over seeds and other offerings in harvested fields, and offer libations to the trees. There are various stones, colors, and incense used with Mabon. Some of these include: Sapphire, amethyst, yellow topaz, yellow agate and lapis lazuli, red, orange, green, gold, maroon and brown, and sage, benzoin and myrrh. You may also associate some flowers and plants with Mabon such as mums, marigolds, roses, ferns, and tobacco.
The full moon for the month of September that is generally around the time of Mabon is referred to as the Harvest moon. Normally this moon is known to be seen as bigger and brighter than the other full moons throughout the year. Some say this is because of the marriage of the full moon to Mabon while others state that it only appears to be bigger and brighter and is actually what is called a moon illusion. Nevertheless, it does not really matter what your outlook is on why the moon appears larger for the Harvest moon than other times. The important thing is that you look within yourself during this time of thanksgiving as well as give your thanks and appreciation to the earth and things around you. This year, whether you call it the fall equinox, Mabon, cornucopia, harvest tide, the second harvest feast, witch’s Thanksgiving, feast of Avilon, or the first day of Autumn, make sure you take time out of your busy day to relax for a moment and celebrate the bounties of fall.