Samhain

July 8, 2009

The ancient Celtic fall harvest celebration, Samhain, was celebrated in Scotland on November 1st. to mark the beginning of a new cycle of life and the beginning of the Celtic New Year.
Celts and their priests the Druids, members of pagan orders in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul celebrated “Samhain” believing that during the time of “Samhain” the veil separating life from death was at its thinnest. They believed on October 31st, evil spirits and souls of the dearly departed, passed through the veil and visited the world of the living. Celts lit huge bonfires in belief that they would light the way for spirits to find their way into the world of the living. Food was left out to appease the spirits. They believed if food was not left out the spirits would play “evil” tricks on the living in the house. Celts believed they could talk with the spirits of their dead loved ones and that they could see the future.
Druids performed their rituals by offering sacrifices, usually of animals, to placate the gods. They thought the rituals would assure the return of the sun and frighten away evil spirits.
All bonfires except those of the Druids were extinguished on Samhain and households were charged a fee to relight their fires from the holy fire. The Druids fire would burn all through the winter on which sacrifices to the gods would be offered.

Sahman was introduced into Canada and the USA by immigrants from Scotland and Ireland and has evolved into the celebration we now call Halloween. (called mummery in Newfoundland)

Ghouls and goblins and witches on brooms,
Owls and bats all shadowed by doom,
An ancient day of souls, a modern day of fright,
Come and join me this Halloween night!

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