Tune into our special Halloween playlist at the end of this article.
Samhain is a major pagan holiday. Now known as Halloween – it has been celebrated since the times of Ancient Egypt (perhaps, even before). It is a Celtic holiday. Samhain is, in fact, a Celtic word, pronounced sow-in; although, these days, you’ll hear it more commonly pronounced like it’s spelled.
Samhain is the Witches’ New Year. The Celts divided the Wheel of the Year into two halves, a light and a dark half. The light half corresponds to May 1st through November 1st and the dark half is the remainder of the year. Samhain is the third and final harvest. It is symbolic of the death of the god. It is the beginning of the winter, the ushering in of darkness. It is a time for reflection and contemplation.
Samhain is the time when the veil has been lifted between this world and the Next. Traditionally, it is a night when séances occur and contact is initiated with our ancestors. Many pagans celebrate the holiday on October 31st, All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween); but, there are traditions that celebrate the festival on November 1st as well. It is not a time for satanic debauchery as some would like to think.
Many pagans leave offerings of food for the wandering dead on this night. We celebrate the Crone, the aged aspect of the Goddess and her consort, the Horned God, who is ready to return to the Netherworld, only to be born again in the springtime. Samhain is a time of sanctity and piety. It is a time when pagans think over what they have done throughout the year and make plans and use divination methods such as Runes or Tarot to gain insight into the future.
In the Americas, Samhain has largely been forgotten in its origins. The holiday is Halloween, a day for eating candy, trick-or-treating and enjoying the darker side of human horror. All things have their place, of course. Perhaps, by remembering where Samhain originated, it can give you greater insight into the holiday and make it more meaningful for you.
Listen to our curated playlist of Halloween songs and sounds to start the Festival of Samhain. If you have a suggested track to add, please let us know!