In a recent discussion with a group of cackling witches the word 'esbat' came up and it was interesting to see the different interpretations that everyone had - all for the same small word.
So often it seems the word is used for a full moon ritual but actually it is much broader than that. I popped on my 'research hat' and here is what I found:
An esbat is a coven meeting of other than one the sabbats within Wicca and other Wiccan-influenced forms of contemporary paganism. Janet and Stewart Farrar describe esbats as an opportunity for a "love feast, healing work, psychic training and all."
An esbat is a Wiccan meeting held each month at the time of the full moon. This is usually the time for initiation ceremonies or healing magic to be done, as opposed to a Sabbat (holiday) celebration.
The second wheel of the year is made up of thirteen lunar cycles occurring within the solar year—called esbats by pagans. Covens usually meet either on the full or the new moon and a few manage both. Solitary practitioners are urged to commemorate the moon’s journey through the sky at both times, but the merrymaking and festival night has always been that of the full moon
A Wiccan coven gathering other than one of the Sabbats. While a full moon ritual may be held during an esbat, esbats encompass coven business meetings, social occasions, and opportunities for merriment.
On the great Sabbats all the covens that could forgather together would do but apart from these great Sabbats minor meetings called Esbats are held. The word ‘esbat’ may come from the old French “s’esbattre” meaning ‘to frolic, to enjoy oneself’. Traditionally the Esbat is the meeting of the local coven for local matters or simply for fun and it is or should be held at or near the full moon.
The Esbat differed from the Sabbat by being primarily for business. ... very often the Esbat was for sheer enjoyment only.
Take from that what you will...