The holidays are here!
And like us, our witches celebrate a varied calendar. There are the usual Hallmark and government holidays, religious holidays, cultural holidays, and witch holidays. Several of these overlap, of course, and the witches celebrate either/or/both according to personal inclination.
In the Perfect Coven world, there are the usual birthday celebrations, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day (a big one for us as writers; these are romances, after all), Thanksgiving, and the New Year.
The religious holidays follow the traditions of our society; Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover, Easter, Ramadan, Eid, etc. However, Easter, as a holiday, is only significant in the religious sense; it is not a cultural holiday in the Perfect Coven world.
Then there are the witch holidays; Yule, Samhain, Sabbats, Walpurgisnacht and Beltane, Midsummer, Bonding Day and Pact Day.
Yule takes place on the Winter Solstice. Witches may celebrate Yule in conjunction with the more traditional religious holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Eid. The actual solstice doesn’t always fall on the same day as the religious holiday, but even when it does, witches will incorporate a ritual into the day’s celebrations.
Samhain is celebrated on Halloween. Most witches include the traditional candy frenzy in their ritual, which is usually held at midnight to celebrate the opening of the door between worlds that takes place between Samhain and the Day of the Dead.
Sabbats are celebrated twice a year, on the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes. The Sabbats are purely witch holidays, though some orthos, especially those with witches in the family, celebrate Sabbats as well. Sabbats can be celebrated alone, in groups, by families, or as part of a coven. Rituals vary and tend to be personal to the people celebrating.
Walpurgisnacht and Beltane is a two-day witch celebration that begins at dusk on April 30th (Walpurgisnacht) and ends at midnight on Beltane (May 1st). A feast is part of the traditional celebration.
Midsummer celebrations take place on the Summer Solstice in June. The celebration and rituals incorporate some form of the traditional Midsummer bonfire.
Bonding Day is a purely witch holiday and is personal for each witch. This day is celebrated like a birthday, with food and gifts, usually geared to the witch’s familiar. Bonding day marks the day a witch and his/her familiar form their link.
Pact Day is commemorated by orthos and witches alike. Pact Day is celebrated on January 14th, the day decreed by the General Court in 1697 as a fast day in memoriam of the Salem Tragedy. This date marks the pact between orthos and witches to stop the persecution of witches and the beginning of the integration of witches into society, eventually leading to the inclusion of witch holidays in the national calendars.
James says: Holidays are major landmarks on the landscape of a culture. By creating holidays for this world we’ve made, we are giving the culture more texture than it would have without them. This world is one in which witches and non-magical people coexist, and these holidays are an outgrowth of that coexistence. Book Three in the series is going to include a witch-specific Yule celebration and I’m thinking there might be a way for me to include something about Pact Day a few weeks later.
Mickie says: I think the ‘real’ world needs to incorporate some of these holidays. We all need reasons to eat, drink and be merry. And they don’t sound nearly as stressful as the current holidays. As to personal progress, I’m still working on finding where I’ve saved things on my new computer. I have started a new chapter, but I can’t find it. I’m hoping to get some serious work done soon.