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Together, they represent the most common celebrations in Wiccan-influenced forms of Neopaganism, especially in contemporary Witchcraft groups.Midwinter has been recognised as a significant turning point in the yearly cycle since the late Stone Age.In Wiccan and Wicca-influenced traditions, the festivals, being tied to solar movements, have generally been steeped in solar mythology and symbolism, centred around the life cycles of the sun.

Bringing sprigs and wreaths of evergreenery (such as holly, ivy, mistletoe, yew, and pine) into the home and tree decorating are also common during this time.As the first cross-quarter day following Midwinter this day falls on the first of February and traditionally marks the first stirrings of spring.The cycle of temperature (shown in pink) is delayed by seasonal lag.Traditionally the first day of summer in Ireland, in Rome the earliest celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries.Since the Christianisation of Europe, a more secular version of the festival has continued in Europe and America.

In this form, it is well known for maypole dancing and the crowning of the Queen of the May.The American Ásatrú movement has adopted, over time, a calendar in which the Heathen major holidays figure alongside many Days of Remembrance which celebrate heroes of the Edda and the Sagas, figures of Germanic history, and the Viking Leif Ericson, who explored and settled Vinland (North America).These festivals are not, however, as evenly distributed throughout the year as in Wicca and other Heathen denominations.Mid-20th century British Paganism had a strong influence on early adoption of an eightfold Wheel.By the late 1950s, the Wiccan Bricket Wood coven and Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids had both adopted eightfold ritual calendars, in order to hold more frequent celebrations.The ancient megalithic sites of Newgrange and Stonehenge, carefully aligned with the solstice sunrise and sunset, exemplify this.