Samhain, also known as Halloween or All Hallow's Eve, is the Witches New Year and starts on October 31st at sunset. This holiday usually lasts around two weeks before and after the actual day. It is celebrated by modern witches every year on October 31st to November 1st (some traditions do celebrate it for three days). Samhain is a cross-quarter day, which means it's a holiday that falls half way between an equinox and a solstice.
Samhain: History and Lore
Samhain marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new (autumn and winter). It was one of four Celtic fire festivals, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh/Lammas , and Imbolc. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France celebrated their new year on November 1st. This date was chosen because it marked when summer ended and winter began.
The last harvest of the year would be celebrated during Samhain. The crops were brought in from the fields and bonfires were lit to honor the dead. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31st, the boundary between this world and the Otherworld was weak enough for spirits and certain deities to make contact with humans.
To mark this time, many festivities were had in honor of these beings. People would dress up in costumes and masks to resemble these beings and would often go door to door asking for treats. This was because many believed that the dead roamed the earth on Samhain night, so treats were left out for them as a sign of respect.
This is the time where the veil between the living and the dead is said to be thinnest. Spirits can easily make their way into our realm, which makes it a time where many people try to communicate with spirits. Samhain is also a day for remembering the dead. It's traditional to leave out food and wine for them, or even to light candles in honor of your ancestors who have passed away.
How to Celebrate Samhain:
There are so many different ways you can celebrate this holiday - here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Samhain Rituals: You can perform a ritual to honor the dead or use it as time to commune with spirits.
Samhain Spell to Honor Your Ancestors : We have an awesome Samhain spell to honor your ancestors in our guide to Samhain. It makes the perfect ritual.
Samhain food: Mentioned above, but many people do feast on this day, or light bonfires & cookouts.
Trick-or-treating: Dress up and go door to door asking for candy. This is a favorite among kids, but many adults also enjoy dressing up on Samhain. If you have kids, dress up with them, if you don't still dress up and hand out candy.
Jack-o-lantern carving: Carve faces into pumpkins - this has become very popular, especially in America, and you're sure to see a lot of pumpkins with smiling faces on doorsteps.
This is meant to be a night of laughter and celebration. Ghosts, demons and spirits are all meant to be honored on this day so celebrate in a way that is appropriate for you!
Happy Samhain :)