Samhain is a significant Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It is traditionally celebrated on October 31st to November 1st and holds a central place in Celtic and pagan traditions, especially in Ireland, Scotland, and parts of Wales.
Samhain is often referred to as the ancient precursor to modern Halloween. During this festival, people believed that the boundaries between the living and the spirit world blurred, allowing the dead to return to Earth. To honor and appease these spirits, communities would engage in various rituals and customs, such as lighting bonfires and carving turnips or later pumpkins into lanterns, which eventually evolved into the familiar jack-o'-lanterns.
Feasting, divination, and storytelling were common activities during Samhain, as people sought to connect with their ancestors and gain insights into the future. As the harvest season concluded, it was also a time for stockpiling food and resources for the winter months ahead.
Samhain continues to influence modern Halloween traditions, with its emphasis on costumes, supernatural themes, and the idea of communing with spirits. It remains a culturally significant and celebrated festival, both for its historical roots and its enduring impact on contemporary festivities.
Image from our Celtic Mandala 2024 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth.
Posted by Amber Lotus Publishing on 1st Oct 2023