We received a question about when do we observe the holy days. There is a list on our website here, but as you can see, there are a range of dates offered in most cases. It can get a little confusing, so I will break down the reasons below. You can use this to decide what works for you.
The first thing you need to know is that the solstices will always occur on the longest and shortest days of sunlight. The equinoxes will always occur when the length of the day and night are of equal length. These dates change slightly from year to year because of the earth’s wobble. The cross quarter festivals will fall halfway in between the solstices and equinoxes.
Using static dates that don’t change from year to year is easiest to remember. Most people do this. If this is the method you prefer, the holy day dates for the cross quarter festivals are: November 1, February 1, May 1, and August 1. You can also begin your observations on the evening of the previous day. This is how it was traditionally done and is still done in Judaism, Druidry, and other traditions.
Some people celebrate on the 6th day after the new moon closest to each of the dates above. These dates are closer to the true halfway point between the solstices and equinoxes. This will put Ancestor Day on Nov 7. The Promise of Spring will fall on or around February 3rd or 4th. May Day will be May 5. The Feast of Transformation will be on the 7th or 8th of August if you are in the northern hemisphere.
So When Do I Celebrate?
It’s really up to you. If you want to get together with people when it’s convenient or work around your schedule, you can observe the holy days on the weekend closest to the day. If you are doing a ritual and want to make the most of the energy or really feel it, you’ll probably want to do it on the day of the event. After all, there is only one sunrise on the longest or shortest day.
It’s a bit like deciding whether to celebrate your birthday on the actual day or wait until it’s convenient. For something like your birthday, it might not matter all that much to delay it. For something like New Years Eve, it only happens once. You can also have more than one celebration.
If you are going to move it to another day, but you want to take advantage of the energy, my suggestion is to do it before the day. For example, if the new moon falls on a Monday, but you will be working then, I’d do my ritual on Saturday or Sunday. Once the energy has peaked and is on the downward slide, you lose a lot of potency. Then again, some say it’s the same a day or two in either direction. Feel free to play with it and see for yourself.