1.Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year, for the Celts divided the year into two seasons: the light and the dark, at Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. The most magical potent part of Samhain and its celebration is actually the eve before, hence Halloween.
2.Samhain literally means “summer's end.”
3. In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable. All the crops and harvest were to be gathered and stowed away. It was also a time of Family reunions, all around the hearth.
4. The reasoning behind the idea of Winter was because the fairies would come in November and blast all the crops with the cold breath. So when a blizzard strikes, blame Tinkerbell.
5. Samhain was the principal Festival for the calendar year. Think Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hannukah and wrap them into one.
6.At at all the turning points of the Celtic year, the gods drew near to Earth at Samhain, so many sacrifices and gifts were offered up in thanksgiving for the harvest. Personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing the wishes of supplicants or ailments to be healed were cast into the fire, and at the end of the ceremonies, brands were lit from the great fire of Tara to re-kindle all the home fires of the tribe, as at Beltane. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, people surely felt a sense of the kindling of new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come.
7. The Samhain fires continued to blaze down the centuries. In the 1860s the Halloween bonfires were still so popular in Scotland that one traveler reported seeing thirty fires lighting up the hillsides all on one night, each surrounded by rings of dancing figures, a practice which continued up to the first World War.
8.After the great Celebrations, ashes from the fires were sprinkled over the fields to protect them during the winter months -- and of course, they also improved the soil. The bonfire provided an island of light within the oncoming tide of winter darkness, keeping away cold, discomfort, and evil spirits long before electricity illumined our nights.
9.Samhain was a significant time for divination, perhaps even more so than May or Midsummer’s Eve, because this was the chief of the three Spirit Nights. Divination customs and games frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles played an important part in adding atmosphere to the mysteries.
10. Divination is the attempt of ascertaining information by interpretation of omens or an alleged supernatural agency.
11. The Apple plays a major significance in Samhain traditions and celebrations. And during Samhain, the apple is in harvest, making it the spiritual centerpiece.
12. At the heart of the Celtic Otherworld grows an apple tree whose fruit has magical properties. Old sagas tell of heroes crossing the western sea to find this wondrous country, known in Ireland as Emhain Abhlach, (Evan Avlach) and in Britain, Avalon.
13. Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays referred to as Sabbats observed by modern day Wiccans, and by other Neopagans who base their traditions on Wicca. Its date is not universally agreed upon, as many Neopagan movements have no binding structure upon which all agree.
In the end, this is something I have really been interested in for a long time, ever since the first wife actually. Mrs Duck excepts the concept, as long as I am not crazy out front with it. Does that really count as having a faith if its in the background?
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