Thursday, 1 November 2012


Samhain, one of the four main Celtic festivals, was (is) celebrated on November the 1st, the night prior to it leading into the celebrations. Samhain was a pastoral festival which marked the passing of one pastoral year and the beginning of the next one. In days of old, at Samhain, the livestock were brought in from the fields- some for better winter sheltering and breeding purposes, some were slaughtered to add to the food-stocks.

In addition to all of those more practical and mundane reasons, Samhain was also an important time when the usual barriers between the Otherworld, and the mortal world, could be suspended. The thinking was that spirits could move freely among the living and that mortals in turn could see the Otherworld.  Many of our contemporary Halloween traditions stem from this Celtic ideology.

It is thought that special ritual fires were lit by the druids-but only after all current ones had been extinguished-the druids lighting the new from a ceremonial source. Irish Celtic tales tell of some annual tributes being paid at Samhain, to the demon  Fomorii-the gifts being corn, wine and even children! 

In many Celtic places people gathered to feast, to market, and to take part in feats of expertise and danger-like horse and chariot racing.

I love the idea of Samhain...what about you?



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