What is Mabon?
Mabon is the Celtic Pagan holiday that celebrates the Autumn Equinox on September 21-22, or wherever your Autumn becomes officially Autumn. Many of our current calenders go off of these same dates to mark the changes in seasons. Mabon is mainly used to commentate the harvest we have and how thankful we are before the coming winter months.
The name Mabon was only coined the in 1970's and is known by other names such as Harvest Home, Feast of the Ingathering, and Meán Fómhair. The pumpkin is especially sacred to this holiday. It was what kept many families alive to throughout the winter months because it could be kept up to 90 days without rotting and could be added to many different dishes as well as being extremely healthy and having a high concentration of iron.
The history :
The tradition is as old as time, but the name has been made only recently. The name dates back mainly to Celtic traditions, however, almost any tradition will most likely have a celebration centered around their harvest. You may have to run far back as many modern day and even ancient sects of paganism don't, such as Santeria, Palo Mayombe, and other Afro-Cuban practices. The celebrations also differ from area to area as they had different seasons at different times and even different kinds of harvests. So for the sake of this section, we'll settle on many more the European practices and those that were influenced by them.
The early Germanic Tribes would bless herbs, flowers, and foods for healing at this time. Later traditions used this time to make mead and wines, but there isn't a specific holiday for them here. They rarely worshiped anything on an equinox because they were lunar. Anglo Saxons may have sacrificed horses to Freyr and make a God bread to eat as a celebration of the wheat harvest when they were later Christianized.
England took it a little further by creating corn dolls, dunking them in water, and burning them to represent the death of the grain god. This then adapted into the Wicker Men that were constructed for vegetation sprits and burned. This was reconstructed in the Americas with the Neo-Pagan movement of the 70s.
Even the Japanese took part in these kinds of traditions by visiting their ancestors, cleaning their graves, giving offerings, and burning incense. Very similar to the Mexican Dia de los Muertos, however that takes place after Halloween.
We will go into the modern reconstruction of Mabon in our next post. Stay tuned.
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