HAPPY SAMHAIN! (pronounced ‘sow-in’) HAPPY HALLOWMAS!
Samhain is the Celtic New Year. On this day, pagan belief says that
spirits and ancestors come back to visit their living relatives by "walking
across the two worlds." Samhain is celebrated with traditions similar to
Halloween, like jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, costumes, and
mischief. Pagans also participate in rituals such as "dumb suppers" and divination. Above all, pagans honor those who died in the past year. They invite those spirits to join them by setting an extra place at the dinner table.
Originally used as a lantern for travelers on Samhain - those who
traveled on the eve of Samhain carved scary faces into their pumpkin lanterns to
protect themselves from evil spirits. It was said that spirits and ancestors came
back to their living relatives on October 31st. During this one day, the
veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin and allowed
spirits> to cross over.
According to pagan belief, Samhain was the only day during the year when>
the force of chaos invaded the realm of order. On this day, men dressed
as> women and women dressed as men to add to the chaos. Children ran around
> to> neighbors' houses, playing mischievous pranks for fun. Often, adults
- gave> out treats at their front door to coax the children out of the pranks.
The Celtic Feast of Samhain marked the end of harvest, the beginning of Winter and the Celtic New Year and is traditionally celebrated at the end of October and beginning of November. Samhain is Irish-Gaelic for 'the Summer's end', and is pronounced 'sow-in'. Samhain is considered a celebration of life over death, and a time to remember those who have left the world of the living. Candles would be lit at the graves of loved ones and bonfires were lit throughout the countryside. It is believed that the borders between the world of the living and the dead is thinner on this night - also known as 'Ancestor night'. Halloween is based on the 'Feast of Samhain'. The Catholic church attempted to replace the Pagan festival with All Saints' or All Hallows' day, followed by All Souls' Day, on November 2nd.