Call it what ye will – but the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.
Samhain means Summer’s End. We Wise Women celebrate on the nearest full moon afore November, after the harvest is gathered. This is halfway between Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It represents the end o’ summer and the start of the spiritual New Year. Samhain comes from the Celtic Fire Festival when all the Druids remember the dead. Bonfires may be built to cleanse and protect – and sacrifices are offered to the gods. It’s a night of divination, mummers, feastin’, guisin’, and young lads followin’ the Hobby Horse about the village.
The Church o’ Rome made this feast into All Hallows’ Eve, the start o’ All Saints’ Day to honor the Christian saints and martyrs – and All Soul’s Day that remembers the souls o’ the dead. There’ll be Soul Cakes eaten instead o’ meat, candles lit for the dear departed, vigils, feasts, and the ringin’ o’ church bells everywhere.
The youngsters have just celebrated Halloween, short for Hallowed or Holy Evening, and remembered the frailty o’ life wi’ skeletons, ghouls, cobwebs, tombstones, and demons. They hoped to chase evil and death away by honoring the darkness. Some carved turnips into Jack o’ Lanterns for those lost souls who’ve been denied both Heaven and Hell. There were pranks and guising to imitate mischievous spirits, costume feasts, processions, and mummers’ plays. I’m sure you did plenty o’ frolicking.
Aye, it’s a powerful week — but be careful to guard your own soul!