Mabon or Autumn Equinox (Approx. 21st-22nd March, check calendar)
Mabon falls at the Autumnal Equinox, when nights and days are of equal length, but light bends increasing towards darkness, and winter is on its way. It is a time of balance, and a time of looking forward to and preparation for the winter.
At this time food is prepared for storage, jams and pickles are made, and fruits are candied and preserved. Maple syrup is a traditional food for Mabon, as are all long-keeping plant foods, and honey, which is a natural preservative. Special foods to celebrate with include traditional Greek baklava (honey cake), and anything preserved or that involves fermentation. The colors of the season are brown and gold.
In Australia, Mabon falls close to the end of Daylight Savings time, and the change in the time that evening falls makes us very aware that winter is on its way, and that summer is well and truly over. It is at Mabon that the Cauldrons are first lit again, the last of the summer fruits are eaten in thanks, and summer ribbons and garlands are put away in preparation for the colder months.
Mabon is the second harvest, and the Goddess is mourning her fallen consort as he has been cast down, but the rebirth found in the seeds of harvest gives hope for the future, and the continuing circle of hope. Mabon is a time of gathering, of preparation. It is also a time to walk among the gum trees, smelling the resin and the eucalyptus oils in the air, and gathering oils, barks, plants and herbs to be dried for culinary, medicinal and magickal purposes.
At the Autumnal Equinox, altars are dressed with leaves and bark, the last of the flowers and the first of the winter fruits. Suitable offerings include autumnal vegetables and pickles, and preserved fruits and root crops. Mabon is a time to acknowledge the joys of living, as well as the suffering that is a part of life. It is a time for meditation and repose, and for spending time with close family and Coven members in silent appreciation of the relationships we share and that strengthen us.
In the Southern hemisphere, Mabon falls on the 21st and 22nd of March, and in the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 21st and 22nd of September. It is associated with the festivals of Winter Finding (Teutonic) and Alban Elfed (Scottish).