As the evenings are drawing in, I for one am looking forward to the cosiness and comfort that comes with the end of summer. Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. The autumnal colours, the smells of spices and the chilly air are perfect to me. Although I love my usual traditions, I think I’m going to be celebrating a little differently this year. After discovering Samhain (pronounced sah-win) I’d like to try a new approach this time around.
Samhain is a Gaelic festival that takes place to celebrate the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year or winter. It is held on all hallows day which is November 1st but celebrations usually begin on the evening of October 31st, known as all hallows eve. Samhain - Wikipedia
Halloween and Samhain have a lot of similar traditions and beliefs however many of them are celebrated in different ways. They both believe the veil between the living and the dead is especially thin that night. Halloween traditionally consists of creating jack-o-lanterns, wearing spooky costumes, trick or treating and telling spooky stories. Trick or treating is said to be a way to appease the spirits that roam the earth on the night of all hallows eve. Samhain has some different traditions to this. One of them being creating an altar where photos of loved ones are placed or hosting a ‘silent meal’ where spaces are left at the table for loved ones who have passed. Food is left for them as an offering and to let them know they are welcome within that home.
The one tradition I am most looking forward to celebrating will be the lighting of bonfires. Unlike your standard bonfire, ones celebrated on Samhain differ slightly. It is thought that they were lit by the druids and any sacrifices were placed within the fire. All the village fires would be extinguished and then relit from this bonfire. For more information about Samhain origin and traditions check out this blog post by the green parent Eight ways to celebrate Samhain - The Green Parent.
This would be a great time to use your journal for writing about endings and new beginnings or the changes in cycles you are experiencing or have experienced in the last year. You could also use a DreamKeeper journal to write down memories you have of loved ones or things you would like to say to them or thank them for. The butterfly witch, Ten Journal Prompts for Samhain! – The Butterfly Witch , suggests journalling about changes you’ve noticed in cycles, the thinning of the veil, lessons from the past year to bring forth to the new year and lots more.
Let us know how you celebrate this time of year!