Halloween or Samhain is still celebrated with seasonal events and festivals to this day. Most are now renamed into fall festival or harvest festival but the celebration itself is evidenced to get its origins in ancient times. In honor of Samhain let us take a closer look at what it is and its traditions.
What is Samhain?
Traditionally Samhain is the first day of November. It is traditionally celebrated as the end of harvest season and the first day of winter. Initially seasons where only split into two. The light and dark half of the year. Samhain ushers in the dark half of the year. It is also a time of year where spirits are able to easily access our physical realm. Due to this it is also considered a time to honor our ancestors and celebrate their memory.
There are a number of traditions and rituals surrounding Samhain. Traditionally they were celebrated over the course of three days. The most common is the Silent Supper also called Dumb Supper. As its name suggests this supper was served in absolute silence. There was always a seat of honor left at the head of the table for ancestors that had passed. However many more where observed and have left imprints even on today’s celebrations. Since not all spirits are good, Celts dressed up in costumes and scary masks to trick the evil spirits and protect their identities. Bonfires would be lit during the celebrations thanksgiving would be offered along with dancing and petitioning for protection of livestock during the dark months.
No matter what you call it while you are out threading the labyrinth and sharing sweets with your neighbors, keep in mind that Halloween is a time to honor those who have gone before us. Consider leaving a biodegradable offering for your ancestors, or to appease any mischievous fairies that may stop by this October 31st.