Unlocking Traditions: Mabon Feast

The isolation of quarantine hasn’t been all bad.

I mean, it’s been mostly bad. I very much miss the ability to go places, do things, and see people.

However, it also allowed my family to think about the future in a way we hadn’t before. Where do we want to be extending our energy? What traditions do we want to instill in our children?

One of the conversations we’ve had recently was in regards to holidays. A disclaimer that you can believe in whatever you want and practice whatever religion you desire. I will not pass judgment unless it harms others or is harmful to yourself. But, for Brendan and me? Christianity is something we’ve decided to leave behind us.

Harder than it sounds! We love several holidays that are, by default, celebrated through the lens of Christianity. But we don’t love them for their religious symbolism. We love them for the celebration, the introspection, the kindness and compassion, the feasts and gatherings.

We didn’t want to abandon Christmas. We decided we could take or leave Easter. Lent could take a hike.

But Christmas? We love. Our children love.

So I looked into ways to celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christmas. And I learned all of the things we love about Christmas are grounded in the celebration of Yule or Midwinter. The Winter Solstice.

We rediscovered the Celtic, Norse, and Pagan holidays of our ancestors. And that led us to commit to a year of celebrating the Wheel of the Year. The first upcoming from the moment we decided this was Mabon or Autumn Equinox.

Thus, a new tradition was born.

The Food

A week of early fall, late summer dinners like:

Aunt Sue’s Salmon Souffle

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Charcuterie (Whatever you want! Think: Fruit, Nuts, Cheese, Proteins, Spreads, Crackers and go to town)

And on the last night of Mabon, I made Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roasted Chicken, mashed potatoes, blanched green beans with toasted almonds and dinner rolls.

The Festivities

Each night during the week of Mabon we did a different low stakes activity to celebrate the season:

  • Monday: Went for a walk and gathered fall decorations, leaves, and acorns.
  • Tuesday: Used what we gathered and some things we had to create a Mabon altar.
  • Wednesday: Backyard Firepit in which we threw negative thoughts about ourselves written on paper to let them go.
  • Thursday: Wrote a letter to anyone we chose (outside of the household) to express our thankfulness or share a story that meant something to us and mailed them.
  • Friday: Made God’s Eyes with sticks we’d gathered on our walk earlier in the week and placed them outside hanging on our porch. Those stayed up until Samhain and became a favorite family activity.

Each night we lit candles before eating and spoke about the transformation and reflection that Autumn inspires. We let go of the things not serving us.

And we invite you to do the same.

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