Celebration of Samhain Holiday
Getting ready for this month’s festivities. Practicing your gory makeup skills, buying last minute candy and costumes, or planning the party of the month to resemble the spooky dark holiday known as Halloween. If you are pagan you celebrate a day not known as Halloween, but the day of Samhain,(so-wen)- Irish word for summers end.
Samhain is a day celebrated by pagans on sundown from October 31 to November 1st. Depending on where you are the practice will vary from time and ways it’s celebrated. For example, some people observe this time within a couple of days of Oct 31st. through November 6th. In the northern hemisphere, they commence at nightfall. Others celebrate on the Full moon or New moon nearest to this date. Even the day of November 6 is observed for Samhain for the astronomical midpoint between the Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice.
Samhain has many names such as Samhuinn, and Shamhna. These names originate from many places just like the practice. The Celtic people were from Ireland, Scotland, England and Northern France. The practices of the Celtic people are where our traditional holiday celebration stems from.
Fun fact: All Saints day, (a day for any saint who is not assigned a day and is celebrated by the Catholic church), it’s the same day as Samhain. All saints day is also called All Hallowmas, therefore the day before is All hallows Eve this day eventually become our day of Halloween.
Every single detail of our celebration is in one way or the other from ancient rituals of Celtic people. The Romans conquered most of Celtic Europe from B.C.E. until around 100 C.E. carrying on with their own rituals. Not much is known about their religion but a piece of their ways found a place amongst most of Europe’s past onto us today.
On the October 31st, you can step out of your house and walk to each of your neighbor’s house’s asking for delicious little treats in your awesome hand-picked store-bought or handmade costume. Some children and adults even chant a cute rhyme, “ trick or treat smell my feet give me something good to eat”. This invites the neighbors to choose to give either a sweet treat or trick the little ones most likely with a bit of scare tactic. As you creep around you’ll see witches, wolves, ghouls, vampires, black cat decorations, jack o’lanterns, werewolves, and etc. to bring emphasis of the past to present in spookish delight.
Well once upon a time the rituals presented today had very serious meaning and every little game and decoration have deep meaning to our ancestors of European descent.
Samhain is the Celtic New year’s day transition between the old and new year from summer to winter when all the harvest is collected and preserved for the coming winter. A day the souls of the past year to transcend through the thin veil of our human realm. The people would honor them by making offerings of the best-collected fruit and vegetables of the season-ending harvest. When the Romans conquered Britain they brought over the practice of dedicating a festival to Pomona, the goddess of fruit.
As you can see, as time goes by the customs change, making offers to the dead still go on and happen in many cultures but we now make offers to our little ones and it’s not fruit or vegetables. The costumes now are more accustomed to the culture of today, although the witches and ghouls will still be spotted and will likely strive on for the next holidays to come.
Samhain is but only one part of eight Sabbats
- Summer Solstice
- Winter Solstice
- Vernal Equinox
Each assigned a date and has a meaning behind it. Around 1960’s the modern neo-pagan people and Wiccan formed in Great Britain, U.S., and other countries of English speaking dialect.
It’s at this time the fun game of bobbing for apples was created. In the old days, it wasn’t just aiming for the biggest apple you could catch with your chompers. A way to find your future spouse, the apple picked would be peeled and the skin would be thrown over your shoulder and the peel would resemble the initial of your lover to be.
So remember the next time your wicked side comes around that the practice you take part in every day was and is a ritual of heavy past. Witches and Wiccans come out to play to free show who are. Speak with your dead loved ones. For it’s a time for what’s in the dark to linger for only one. Don’t have a fright my friend be ready and join the fun.
If you are seeking services from a Celtic Shaman on this Samhain holiday then feel free to take a look our services page.