THE ESBATS are the days (or rather, nights) on which the Goddess is honored. Mostly they are celebrations of the Full Moon, and some like to celebrate the New Moon too.
An esbat (pronounced /ˈɛs.bɒt/) is a ritual observance of the full moon within Wicca and other Wiccan-influenced forms of Neopaganism. Some groups extend these celebrations to include the dark moon, or even the first and last quarters. Traditionally, the eight festivals of the Wheel of the Year are times of celebration, while \"magical work\" is done at the esbats.
The term esbat in this sense is due to Margaret Murray. Murray (1921) claimed that \"The Esbat differed from the Sabbat by being primarily for business. ... very often the Esbat was for sheer enjoyment only\". Murray used 16th to 17th century French sources on supposed Witches\' Sabbaths in the context of the European witch trials to \"reconstruct\" a Witch Cult in Western Europe. In 16th century French, the term esbat (Modern French ÃƒÂ©bat) meant roughly \"frolic, romp, disport\".
In The Witches\' Goddess, Janet and Stewart Farrar note that the Babylonians considered the new moon to be the time when the Goddess was menstruating, and it was bad luck to do work on that day. In Jewish culture, this is the first day of the month, called Rosh Chodesh.