I believe that Witches Thanksgiving should be real Thanksgiving. Let me explain why. Mabon, also known as the Autumn Equinox, falls around September 20-22 every year. It marks the real beginning of autumn when, in the northern hemisphere, the daylight hours are even. From here, the days grow shorter.
Mabon has always been a day of gratitude. It’s a time to give thanks for the bountiful harvest we’ve enjoyed through the spring and summer months, and to be thankful for the good things around us. Because, in old times, looking towards the long dark winter brought feelings of worry and concern. Did we stock up enough food to get us through the winter? Will we have famine? Is it all going to be enough?
In the United States, Thanksgiving is in November, and we all know the story of how the pilgrims supposedly sat together with the Native Americans and peacefully ate a feast. We now know that this pleasant scenario is mostly false. The Thanksgiving story that we’ve all learned in school is wrong and that the real history between the Pilgrims and “Indians” was far bloodier than we’ve been taught.
This is why celebrating the beginning of Autumn in September with a thanksgiving feast is far better than November. This is the time it was celebrated in ancient times, and this is the time it’s celebrated by many pagans today.
In many parts of the world, its still warm in September but the signs of autumn are everywhere. Here in Southern California, we don’t get a change in the leaves, and we are still feeling a few triple digits as far as weather. We don’t typically get four seasons anyway, so any ‘feelings of autumn’ we get around here is mostly artificial and highly commercialized.
But imagine if we could enjoy Thanksgiving in September. It would mean more to honor the equinox rather than a massacre. Most kids go back to school in August, so they’d enjoy a short break for Thanksgiving a month into their calendar, rather than so close to the winter holidays. It would be an excellent time to get the family together as well.
One significant benefit I can think of is that we could enjoy our Thanksgiving. There would be no Black Friday to usher in the Christmas season. Christmas often overshadows Thanksgiving since stores are getting ready for the holiday consumerism before the turkey is even finished. Imagine being able to slow down and enjoy the turkey, not having anxiety about the frenzy to follow.
And the best part? The retail worker in your life will actually get to join you for Thanksgiving. They won’t be giving up their Thanksgiving to risk getting trampled by the hordes of Black Friday shoppers.
So consider celebrating the day of gratitude in September. The Autumn equinox falls around September 20-22 every year, and in the southern hemisphere, they will be celebrating the Spring equinox. After all, pagan festivals like Yule and Ostara have already been brandished into Christmas and Easter.
If you don’t like how commercialized Thanksgiving has become and you don’t agree with covering up the terrible history behind it, Mabon is perfect. You can still have your turkey and mashed potatoes, you can still celebrate the magic of autumn and have a chance to celebrate gratitude and being thankful for what you have, but you will also be honoring the ancient past by honoring the true spirit of autumn.