The particular Lesser Sabbats are festivals observed by Wiccan and also Neopagan groups throughout the world. There is a wide diversity as to which in turn groups or individuals celebrate any given Sabbat and many you should never observe them all. The congé sabbatique in general are linked to Wicca Witchcraft and the Wheel of the Year which was founded along with established by its founder Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s. The very festivals themselves have been around for centuries but it was not until Wicca Witchcraft formalized them into the Wheel of the Year how they gained more prominence in today’s society.
The Lesser Sabbats are also referred to as quarter days, minor Sabbats or Solar Sabbats. Quarter days are based on the position of the sun and tend to be held at the equinoxes and solstices each year. Like the larger Sabbats they are celebrated by most of the western world on unique dates, but Pagan and Neopagan followers will often accomplish their rituals on the correct calender day which deviates each year. All of the Sabbats are also linked to Astrology as they are horoscope events.
There are four Lesser Sabbats:
The Winter Solstice, also called Yule or Christmas, observed on December 25th; Typically the Vernal Equinox, also referred to as Ostara, Lady Day or the Originate Equinox, celebrated on March 21st; The Summer Solstice, generally known as Midsummer or Litha, and celebrated on June twenty first; and The Autumn Equinox, also known as Harvest Festival or Mabon, celebrated on September 21st.
The Lesser Sabbats are certainly more closely linked to Germanic pre-Christian feasts than any other and now have a larger following in Europe than elsewhere in the world. Including the Greater Sabbats the dates and practices have been taken by other religious groups, most notably the Catholic The bible. This may have been done to try and subvert followers to what is the newer religion of the Middle Ages at the expense of more aged more established traditional beliefs such as the worship of Nature as well as seasons.
Yule and Litha are held at the time of the exact corresponding solstice when the shortest and longest days come about respectively. Ostara and Mabon are celebrated with the equinoxes where day and night are of equal length and aspect is in balance.