Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Spooktacular: Day 23: History of Samhain


What is Samhain?: 

 Samhain is known by most folks as Halloween, but for Wiccans and Pagans it's considered a Sabbat to honor the ancestors who came before us. It's a good time to contact the spirit world with a seance, because it's the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. 

Myths and Misconceptions: 

 Contrary to a popular Internet-based (and Chick Tract-encouraged) rumor, Samhain was not the name of some ancient Celtic god of death, or of anything else, for that matter. Religious scholars agree that the word Samhain (pronounced "sow-en") comes from the Gaelic “Samhuin,” but they’re divided on whether it means the end or beginning of summer. After all, when summer is ending here on earth, it’s just beginning in the Underworld. Samhain actually refers to the daylight portion of the holiday, on November 1st.

All Hallow Mass: 

 Around the eighth century or so, the Catholic Church decided to use November 1st as All Saints Day. This was actually a pretty smart move on their part – the local pagans were already celebrating that day anyway, so it made sense to use it as a church holiday. All Saints’ became the festival to honor any saint who didn’t already have a day of his or her own. The mass which was said on All Saints’ was called Allhallowmas – the mass of all those who are hallowed. The night before naturally became known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually morphed into what we call Halloween.

 The Witch's New Year: 

Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The old year has passed, the harvest has been gathered, cattle and sheep have been brought in from the fields, and the leaves have fallen from the trees. The earth slowly begins to die around us. This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to wrap things up. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year.

Honoring the Ancestors: 

 For some of us, Samhain is when we honor our ancestors who came before us. If you’ve ever done genealogy research, or if you’ve had a loved one die in the past year, this is the perfect night to celebrate their memory. If we’re fortunate, they will return to communicate with us from beyond the veil, and offer advice, protection and guidance for the upcoming year. If you want to celebrate Samhain in the Celtic tradition, spread the festivities out over three consecutive days. You can hold a ritual and feast each night. Be flexible, though, so you can work around trick-or-treating schedules!

information courtesy of , About.com Guide, click link to read more about Samhain.

My question to you is do you celebrate Samhain if you do what rituals, traditions do you celebrate? If not would you want to ? 

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Becky said...

Great post! I have never celebrated Samhain. I would celebrate Samhain. I would have no problem honoring my ancestors that came before me.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this! I'm pagan, and I celebrate Samhain every year. :)

Anne said...

No, I don't celebrate Samahin at all.

elaing8 said...

I don't celebrate Samhain. Would I want to? maybe
Thanks for the great post.

suzi1811 said...

No I don't really celebrate it but if I did I'd want to do Honoring the Ancesters. This was always the time of year my Granny would get weepy thinking of those who passed already. She'd always tell you about them.

Denise Z said...

Until this year I have seen the season as just costumes, candy,and pumpkin fun. I have recently seen different posts and met new friends on FB that make me aware that there is so much more and I am really enjoying this journey. Thank you for sharing with us :)

Anonymous said...

I have never celebrated Samhain, but I do go sll out for Halloween.

booklover0226 said...

This was an interesting and informative post; I enjoyed reading it.

Tracey D

Texas Book Lover said...

Nope don't celebrate Samhain. Not sure what I would do if I did.

jmcgaugh said...

No, I don't celebrate Samhain; don't do too much for Halloween, any more, either. Just enjoy checking out my grandkids' costumes and the kids who come to the door.

June M. said...

I have never celebrated Samhain, I really don't do much of anything for Halloween anymore. My older nieces and nephew are too old for trick-or-treating, the younger ones live too far away from me, and I could not walk that long without taking many, many breaks and lots of pain meds due to an injury/problems with back/hip/legs

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