see Quarter days

A cross-quarter day is a day falling approximately halfway between a solstice and an equinox. These days originated as pagan holidays in Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom and Ireland,[citation needed] and were revived in modern times as neopagan holidays.[citation needed]

Traditional holidaysEdit

In some cultures, the cross-quarter days mark the beginning of each season (see traditional seasons).[citation needed] In others, including the modern United States', the cross-quarter days mark the middle of each season (see astronomical seasons).[citation needed]


Main article: Wheel of the year

Alternating with the four Quarter Days (solstices and equinoxes: Yule, Ostara, Midsummer, and Mabon), these form the eight major holidays in the neopagan wheel of the year. They are often celebrated on the evening before the listed date, since traditionally the new day was considered to begin in the previous night.

Festival name Date Sun's Position
Samhain 1 November (alt. 5 November-10 November) ≈ 15°
Imbolc 2 February (alt. 2 February-7 February) ≈ 15°
Beltane 1 May (alt. 4 May-10 May) ≈ 15°
Lughnasadh 1 August (alt. 3 August-10 August) ≈ 15°

There are Christian and secular holidays that correspond roughly with each of these four, and some argue that historically they originated as adaptations of the pagan holidays, although the matter is not agreed upon. The corresponding holidays are:

See alsoEdit