Mabon falls at the Autumnal Equinox. In the Southern hemisphere, Mabon falls on the 21st and 22nd of March. In the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 21st and 22nd of September. Mabon is associated with the festivals of Winter Finding (Teutonic) and Alban Elfed (Scottish).
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.
Mabon coincides with nutting time, when nuts fall from the trees and can be collected from the ground. On my own property, the hazelnuts and walnuts are falling, and being gathered and stored for the year. We share plenty with our friends and family, remembering to build community with what we have been given.
Special foods to celebrate with include honey cakes, and anything preserved or that involves fermentation. The colors of the season are brown and gold.
In Australia and New Zealand, 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.
At Mabon 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. The Goddess is mourning her fallen consort as he has been cast down, but rebirth is 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 trees, smelling the resin and the oils in the air, sensing the moisture rising from the earth with the cooler weather that is arriving. It is a time to gather oils, barks, plants and herbs to be dried for culinary, medicinal and magickal purposes.
At the Autumnal Equinox, altars are dressed with leaves, nuts, seeds 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 quiet time for meditation and repose, and for spending time with close family, friends and Coven members in silent appreciation of the relationships we share and that strengthen us.