What is Samhain? aka Halloween:
Samhain is mostly known by the world as Halloween, but for Wiccans and Pagans it's considered a Sabbat holiday to honor the ancestors before our time. It's a spiritual time of the year to communicate with the spirit world through a seance because it's the one time where the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest and easiest to reach.
Samhain was not named after some ancient Celtic god of death, or anything negative or black magic related. Religious scholars agree that the word Samhain (pronounced "sow-en") comes from the Gaelic “Samhuin,” but they argue with each other on whether it means the end or beginning of summer. After all, when summer is ending here on earth, it’s different in the Underworld. Samhain (Halloween) actually refers to the daylight portion of the holiday, on November 1st.
All Hallow Mass:
During the 18th century the Catholic Church declared November 1st All Saints Day. Since many Pagans and Wiccans believe in many of the concepts of Christianity this worked out well since they were already celebrating this day so it made sense to use it as a church holiday. This festival and celebration was used to honor saints that did not have a declared holiday. Allhallowmas is the mass of all tho were hollowed. The eve of this holiday turned into what we would commonly call Halloween.
Witch's New Year:
The sunset on Halloween is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. All of the leaves have fallen from the trees, the herds have been been brought in from the fields and the previous year has passed. The earth slowly begins to renew around us all bringing new life.
This is the time of the year to reflect upon our actions for the previous year and learn from mistakes. Preparing for a new year by setting fourth new goals is common. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to close those chapters of your life. Once you have cleared all of that away it's time to look towards a new beginning.
Honoring the Deceased and Ancestors:
For Wiccans and Pagans alike, Samhain is a time when we honor our ancestors who came before us. If you know someone who has passed onto the next world this is a time to celebrate their life and memories. Some of them return on this day from the other world to communicate with us to offer guidance, protection, knowledge and forgiveness.
Holding a ritual and feast each night for friends and loved ones is a common practice over the course of three nights to celebrate the holiday. This is a time for Wiccans and Pagans to come together on a positive note and enjoy each other's company. Make sure that the trick-or-treater's are not forgotten!
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