It’s Halloween also known as Samhain – the celebration the ancient Celts called Samhain. This marks the Celtic beginning of the New Year and winter. This celebration starts at sunset on October 31 to sunset November 1.
Samhain is the Gateway to winter, where the veils are especially thin between these worlds of the seen and unseen. The Celts called the unseen realms the ‘Otherworld’, a place of beauty, rest, and renewal. Samhain is a time in the cycle of the year for slowing down. For connecting to your deep self and resting there in the healing power of your inner nature. It is the turning of the seasons where you can commune with the earth mother’s womb from which all that is created is birthed.
This marks the time to honor the worlds of the seen and unseen – our everyday world, and the worlds of imagination, mystery, and spirit.
Samhain is also a time for honoring your loved ones who have passed. Perhaps today you may want to light a candle and recall in your heart the cherished memories of loved ones who are no longer in the physical world.
Or you might simply gather some colorful autumn leaves to place in a bowl on your kitchen counter, to acknowledge what you would like to shed in your life and what you would like to seed deep within you for rebirth and renewal.
Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition
TODAY’S HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS
The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.
The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.
Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
So call it Halloween or Samhain take time to celebrate and enjoy this special time of year.
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