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nocturnal gathering of witches, a colourful and intriguing part of the lore surrounding them in Christian European tradition. The concept dates from the mid-14th century when it first appeared in Inquisition records, although revels and feasts mentioned by such classical authors as the Romans Apuleius and Petronius Arbiter may have served as inspiration. The sabbath, or sabbat, derived probably from the term for the seventh day used by the Jews, might be held on any day of the week, though Saturday was considered rare as being sacred to the Virgin Mary.