CANDLEMAS (Brigid's Day, February 2nd) Not common to all pagans, this is very popular with Wiccans and various Celtic sects. Brigid is the Celtic goddess of fire and inspiration (Poetry, smithcraft and healing) as well as yet another representation of the Fertility of Femminity and Love. Brigid had such a strong following amoung the Celtics that the Christian church decided it was easier to assimulate her into their own system, and so there came about the making of Saint Brigit and all the stories they created about her so that her followers would leave their old beliefs enough so they would not side with the Druids, who were known at that time as 'the snakes' because of their tendancy to have tamed snakes that were used to help produce various healing mixtures via their venom, and who were violently opposing the Catholic church. In History, of course, the druids lost against the overwhelming odds presented by the church, led by a man who would then be himself sainted by the church, their Saint Patrick (who was no clergyman but a warrior). Thus Christian rule of various sorts came into Ireland. Handcrafts are often sacrificed to Brigid or dedicated to her as they are started on this day. Its celebration is done with many candles and as usual much feasting. The Christians also took, moved slightly and used thhis date by creating St. Valentine and using the day for one of chaste love reflections.
EOSTAR Ritual (Spring Equinox, March 20-23 dependant on actual astronomical event) This is the start in the pagan year of spring, at least amoung Wiccans and Celtics. The first flowers are praised and the Gods and Goddesses thanked for the true return to happier times for all. Eostar is one of the more colorful holidays, not one of the sombre colors found in Yule and Candlemass. Feasting and socializing are the important factors in this holiday as well as the celebration of the return of color to the natural world. In the Christian calendar, again to draw early worshipers, they marked this as the final days and rebirth of Jesus (when according to "history" he died in June!)
BELTANE (May Eve, April 30th-May 1st) Most important to pagans, save for Samhain, I don't know of any Pagan group that doesn't celebrate this holiday in some way. Beltane is the great Fertility rite of life, starting at dusk on the 30th and continuing until the dawn of the 1st. The union of the God and Goddess to conceive the sun-child to be takes place upon this holiday, no matter which tradition of paganisim is involved. Beltane is the one holiday most discouraged by the Christians, who didn't even use it as a point for a holiday of their own becuase the power and nature of the day involved. Still, even in Christianized Ireland the May day dance of the Maypole remained, as did the giving of flowers to those you loved or cared for as friends. The Maypole is a symbol of the union of the God and Goddess to create life, the pole itself a phalic symbol while the dancers and their streamers or vines of flowers represent the fertile womb of the goddess as it takes in the Phalis of the god and takes in his seed. Besides the Maypole often a bonfire is present, and members of the group are encouraged to jump the flames for luck and their own fertility. Food, drink and love are the order of the evening. In most sects the celebration of Beltane will become one large orgy as the participants are encouraged to enact their own unions of love. Beltane is the time of many marriages / handfastings in the pagan community (in some it is the point where one chooses to begin and end relationships of a physical nature). Clothing is very optional in most get togethers on this holiday, and mostly it is sensual and colorful. Even those sects that are prudish about things tend to accept the rules of the holiday, as it is the holiday of free love. It is said that a child conceived on this day will grow up to weild great power and knowledge and to be healthier than upon any other.
LITHA (Summer Solstice, June 20-23, dependant on actual astronomical event) Held on the longest day of the year, the Solstice is the celebration of lights triumph over darkness and that of the bountiful beauty that light brings into life. Flowers are common in the circle, roses and bright cheerful wildflowers are upon the altar and usually worn by all. It is the changing point of the year, and the celebration of the spiral dance of the year is common amoung Wiccans. It a celebration with much joy, and much feasting. Many Wiccans will attire themselves in bright colours and equally bright adornements of flowers. Litha' usual food fare may include honeycakes or cornbread. Litha is not celebrated by all sects nor in the same way.
LUGHNASAD (August 1st) The great corn ritual of Wiccan belief (in Celtic realms this is the celebration of the wheat god, corn is an Americanization and it is possible there is an American Indian traditional holiday near this date that was borrowed by the American Neopagans). THis is the big celebration of the harvest (Sort of a Pagan Thanksgiving, but the time clock is diffrent as is that of the Celtics). Much feasting and dancing occur, thou it is a bit more sombre than many of the other holidays. Some Pagans celebrate this day as mearly the day to bake their bread and cakes for the comming winter and do no actual rituals save that of blessing the foods prepared.
MABON (Fall Equinox, Sept. 20-23, dependant on actual astronomical event) A lesser holiday, this is not widely celebrated and is most come with pure Wiccan groups, especially those who are based in the works of Starhawk and other Dianic sects. This is the weavers festival, and a braiding of cords are done in the process of casting a spell to add to ones life from what it is, each person weaving unto themselves what they wish and the coven as a whole weaving all the cords together to unite the power and efforts symbolically.
SAMHAIN (Halloween Oct 31st) The year ends traditionally in Wiccan beliefs with this holiday. Samhain is said to be the period of time when the gates between the worlds are least guarded and the veils their thinnnest. It is a time for dimensional openings and workings, and also the celebration of the death of the year king. It is a sombre holiday, one of dark clothes and thoughts for the dead, it is said to be the time when those of necromantic talents can speak with the dead and it is certainly a time to remember ones' dead. It is a time of endings of relationships and bad situations and it is the time when one can see the glimmer of hope in the future. There are as many concepts attached to this holiday as any other.