Mabon is the second of three harvest festivals celebrated in autumn. It takes place on the equinox, when the sun passes the celestial equator, and marks the start of fall. It follows Lammas, and is followed by Samhain.
At Mabon, we celebrate the fertility of the year with feasting. It’s very close to Canadian Thanksgiving. We celebrate the food that comes from the sun and the exchange of energy with the soil. We pray, we feast, and we give back to the gods as thanks for the bounty. We find joy in death. This is a sorrowful rite as much as a joyful one, because with the harvest, the Lord dies and leaves the Lady to navigate the winter alone, with the seed of new life deep in her womb. He sacrifices himself so that life will survive the winter and flourish again in the spring.
The counterpart of this holiday, across the Wheel of the Year, is the spring equinox, Ostara.
In the coven where I attend ritual, this is the first ritual in the year where we wear all black. The dark half of the Wheel is easier on my closet!