According to the ancient Celtic calendar, tonight is set aside as the feast of the dead. The old holiday has been celebrated for hundreds of years either openly, or secretly according to how repressed the pagans have been by members and clergy of the majority religions.
Samhain (pronounced soh-win’) is the time of the year when the veils of this world and the afterworld are believed to be thinnest. The ancient Celts believed Samhain was the time when the spirits of the dead were able to mingle among those of the living. This is why there is a feast honoring the dead.
Contemporary Pagans do not consider death to be a morbid state of matter nor to be feared. The elders are highly valued for their wisdom. The aged eventually die. This is accepted as another chapter of life that is completely necessary as is the need for birth.
A ceremonial invitation to loved ones who have recently died is given so that their spirits can join living spirits in the celebratory feasting. This is also when any recently born family members are formally welcomed into the community. It’s a formal rite of taking stock of pasttimes, coming to terms with them, then moving forward towards futuretimes.
The Druids loved to celebrate Samhain in a big way. Traditionally, they built large, sacred bonfires. Baskets full of newly harvested foods were brought and animals were sacrificed as part of the feast. The people also, traditionally wore costumes. Storytelling and fortune telling were integral parts of the Samhain feast.
The bonfire represents the warmth of the fires of the people’s hearths that keep us warm and protected during the winter.
The Blue Jay of Happiness hopes you recognized the parallels between Samhain and modern day Hallowe’en.