What is Samhain?
Ancients Celtics followed a timeline of two “hinges” per year to mark summer and winter, instead of twelve “months.” These splits were Beltiane; May 1st, and Samhain; November 1st- making Samhain the start of the New Year!
This was the end of the summer and beginning to winter. The time of harvest and feasting.
Samhain is also known as Hallowtide, The Feast of All Souls; and is today known as Halloween! This marks the break of the walls between the supernatural and human worlds, so these times and places “in-between” are scary and magical at the same time.
This also meant areas such as in-between territories, bridges, and land/water connections like ponds, rivers, and oceans were “holy.” They often became places of spiritual practice and prayer.
The old practices of this holiday have developed today’s Halloween traditions into what they are. This is where the jack-O-lanterns, candles, Halloween costumes and dance parties come from!
The Celts followed the belief that past, present, and future all become one this night, bringing spiritual change and enlightenment. Care was always taken, as the open veil meant the beings of the underworld were released into our realm. As a society that is in tune with these times, they actively protected against the spirits.
Dressings were worn during prayer rituals around fire to protect the tribe! This is one of many traditions that has developed wearing costumes to this day!
Candles, torches, and lanterns were lit and carried around the property and home to protect the family against spirits. Today we light candles and Jack-O-Lanterns 🙂
Witches and religious groups would gather near holy areas to perform protection rituals and show respect to the dead!
Animals needed special care during this time, as they were vulnerable to spirits. Samhain marked the time to pull farm animals into their respective homes for the winter. They were typically guarded in some way as well.
Families would cook a silent meal; this consisted of sitting together as a family for dinner, setting an empty seat&full plate at the head of the table, and eating in complete silence to pay respects to the dead! Afterwards, they carried the plate into the woods to allow the wildlife, or “poohka’s” to eat the food.
Children used to dress up by painting faces or wearing scary garments to ward off spirits, and go to doors performing dances or songs for treats, and if not rewarded they would perform tricks. We now just deliberately say “Give me a treat or I’ll trick you” and walk away with a bag full of goodies.
Burning herbs during this time is common, as certain herbs repel negative energy, protect against and repel spirits, purify the area, and bring healing energy.
Have a wonderful Day 🙂