Happy Mabon! Mabon occurs every year between the dates September 21-24 (on the calendars it tends to be printed as being on September 21). “Mabon” is commonly pronounced “MAH-bawn” but can also be pronounced “MAH-boon” or “MAH-bone” or “MAH-bun”. The holiday’s name is derived from a Welsh god named Mabon. Reminders of the dead begin to come into focus, as Mabon is the time of year growing closer to winter and Samhain, both of which are times of the dead and the Underworld. So it is appropriate at this Sabbat to incorporate some rites and reminders of ancestors and those who’ve passed.
At this time of year the daylight is noticeably shorter and the nights become longer. Birds migrate south for the winter. This is the time when the remaining crops of the year are stored for the coming cold months. This is called the Second Harvest, which is often an alternate name for the equinox. It is a celebration of vine harvests and of wine.
Mabon is the time when the God’s power (sunlight) is further diminished from its summer strength and the Goddess’s fertility grows dormant. This holiday is one of balance, as the sunlight and darkness are equal. It is significant and cool trivia that the astrological sign for this time of year is Libra, the balance, and the equinox is a time of balance. It is also one of mysteries, and a time to acknowledge the older or aging deities.
Persephone (goddess of springtime and flowers, among other things) is prominent at this time, as is Demeter (goddess of growing things and harvests), since Persephone’s time above the Underworld is coming to an end and Demeter is about to go into mourning for her daughter and plunge the world into winter.
A Welsh festival occurs on the sundown of Sept. 21 called Gwyl Canol Hydref, and is the celebration of the Goddess mourning the Horned God. It is a harvest festival as well and is their version of Mabon. In the Christian tradition the holiday was standardized as September 25 and called Michelmas.
Ways to celebrate:
- Eat foods typical of a second harvest, such as late corn, squash, pumpkin, nuts, apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.
- Gather herbs and dry them for storage for the winter
- Walk in the woods and admire the colorful leaves
- Wear clothing that is in keeping with the colors of fall: reds, oranges, muted yellows, a very little dark green, browns, etc.
- A traditional activity is to make a straw man and burning him (safely!)
- Wheat weaving
- Make and eat caramel apples
- Make corn dollies