Mabon, a celebration of harvest occurs annually at the autumn equinox. Mabon, among other harvest celebrations is a time of thanksgiving and gratitude for the years annual produce . Mabon, celebrated September 23, also called The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Mea’n Fo’mhair, Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia is a new feast day created in the appearance of older celebrations to mark the time when day and night, light and darkness are equal, or on the date of the autumn equinox. Mabon occurs when plant life in the world begins to visibly die and all must acknowledge the summer harvest is in its waning days.
The autumn equinox is a time when many things change. In temperate climates the weather begins to move noticeably from hot to cool. Regular cold fronts bring noticeably chilly mornings with heavy frost predicting the first frost. Each day shortens by several minutes as the sun is slipping across the equator. Mornings are darker and the sun sets earlier.
The name Mabon was invented by Aidan A. Kelly as part of a doctoral dissertation in the late 1970’s. In his writings including Crafting the Art of Magic, Kelly put for the concept that Wicca is not an old religion, but a concept developed by Gerald Gardner in 1947. In this religion the witch, rather than being an evil hag who sends curses on disliked enemies, is a worshipper of nature who seeks to be in tune with the times, the stars, the animals and the climate. There is no central authority for this belief system which relies heavily on folk tales, personal opinion and ideas shared by others.
The person Mabon ap Mabon for whom the celebration is named is a character from the King Arthur legends, a son of Modron who is from Wales. In the first century A.D. the deity Maponos, whose name means “Great Son” was worshipped on the British isles. Mabon’s mother is a goddess, possibly related to a French goddess Dea Matrona.
During Mabon Wiccan communities celebrate second harvest, giving thanks for the produce of the earth. They also give attention to the fact that days are getting shorter; that day and night are equal, and that the night time is about to overtake the light. During this ritual recognition and honor are given to the goddess who lived and are now dying; casting hope through acknowledging life’s cycle that these gods will live again in the spring. Until the spring darkness will reign and days will grow cooler into winter.
During a communal time Wiccans will build an altar with leaves, acorns, pine cones, fall vegetables, and gardening tools. Candles are lit, and the goddess, her mother and the green man are asked to bless what remains of the garden. Apple magic is performed, finding five seeds in the shape of a pentagram. Worshippers then enjoy a feast of the autumn harvest: apples, cinnamon, root vegetables, fall squashes and pomegranates.