Samhain also known as Sawin or Sowin is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year.
It is celebrated on October 31 – November 1 or halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year.
The celtic year is divided onto two seasons : the light and the dark. Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the celtic year, the other being Beltane clebrated on May 1st.
Historically the festival was celebrated by Gaels (Speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages), however today the festival is celebrated by Irish people, Scottish people, Manx people, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans.
Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature. Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter.
People try to follow one or more of the below mentioned rituals to celebrate Samhain and welcome the new year.
- Celebrating the End of the Harvest
- Samhain Ritual for Animals
- Honoring the Ancestors
- Hold a Seance at Samhain
- Host a Dumb Supper
- Honor the God and Goddess at Samhain
- Celebrating the Cycle of Life and Death
- Ancestor Meditation