Origin of the celebrationSamhain has its origin in the old Europe as a Celtic fire festival but is now celebrated throughout the world. The time of Samhain celebrations contemporary varies according to the spiritual tradition and geography. Many of us celebrate Samhain in the course of several days and nights, including a series of rites alone, as well as ceremonies, parties, and gatherings with family, friends and the spiritual community. In the northern hemisphere, many pagans celebrate Samhain in the sunset on 31 October to 1 November. Others practice celebrations of Samhain on the nearest weekend or in the new moon closest to this time. Some Pagans celebrate Samhain somewhat late, or close on 6 November, to coincide more closely with the average astronomical point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. Many pagans in the southern hemisphere celebrate Samhain, coinciding with half of its fall in late april and early may, instead of at the traditional European time of the party.
Other names of SamhainSamhain has also been known by other names. Some wiccans and druids celtic call it Calan Gaeaf, Calan Gwaf, Kala-Goanv or us Galán Gaeof. A medieval book of short stories, the Yellow Book of Lecan, reports that common people called it the "Festival of Mongfind", the legendary witch queen that married the king of Tara in the old Ireland. In the old Coligny calendar, a bronze engraving which dates from the first century AC and it was unearthed in 1897 in France, Samhain is called Trinouxtion Samonii or "Three nights at the end of the summer". Samhain spelling variants include Samain, Samuin and Samhuinn.
With the growth and spread of christianity as the dominant religion in Europe, Samhain took names and christian forms. All Saints Day on November 1 where the saints and christian martyrs are commemorated. Day of the dead, November 2 is a way of remembering all the souls of the dead. With the arrival of the christian spaniards in Mexico, indigenous customs to honor the dead at this time of the year was mixed with roman catholicism and gave birth to the day of the dead, at the beginning of November. Samhain shares the ancient spiritual practice of recall and pays tribute to the dead with these religious festivals related to Christianity.
Difference between Halloween and SamhainHalloween is the abbreviation for "All Hallow's Eve" the eve of all saints, which is held in and around October 31. Although they occur at the same time of the year and have roots in the end of the harvest and the celebrations of the antiquity, Halloween and Samhain are the same celebration, but two days of party separately that are quite different in approach and practice. In contemporary America, and elsewhere, Halloween is a secular party. Like its cousin, the day of Thanksgiving, it is widely and publicly celebrated in homes, schools and communities, large and small, by people in many ways, ethnic heritages, and visions of the world. In addition, Halloween has evolved to be both a day of holiday family and children-oriented, as well as an occasion for all ages express themselves creatively and participate in games in the realm of fantasy through costumes, storytelling, cathartic games, jokes, visits to places of fear, and others.
In contrast, the approach of Samhain is still religious and spiritual. Although the celebrations can include bright decorations, honoring the dead (which is fundamental for Samhain) is a more serious religious practice more than a cheerful fantasy recreation. Now days Samhain pagan rituals are benevolent, and although focused on death, do not involve human or animal sacrifices. Most of Samhain rituals are conducted in private and not in public.
Samhain's long association with death reflects the rhythms of nature. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. Vegetation dies with frosts that kill them, and therefore, literally, death is in the air. This contributes to the old idea that on Samhain, the veil is thin between the living world and the realm of the dead and this facilitates contact and communication. For those who have lost loved ones in the last year, the rites of Samhain can be an opportunity to give a closing to the duel and to spiritually commune with the dead.
Ritual of HalloweenThere are many ways to celebrate Samhain. Here are some commonly known as rituals of Halloween:
Nature walk. Take a meditative walk in a natural area near your house. Observe and contemplate the colors, scents, sounds and other sensations of the season. Experience yourself as part of the circle of life and ponder on death and rebirth as an important part of nature. If the place you visit permits, collects some natural objects and use them to decorate your home.
Decoration of season. Decorate your home with black and orange colors and symbols of Samhain season. Place a fall wreath on your door. Create lamps with pumpkins, corn stalks, acorns, and apples. Put candles in candle holders.
Altar of ancestors. It brings together photographs, relics and other memories of family, friends, and pets who have died. Place them on a table, a cupboard, or on another surface, along with several candles. It lights candles in his memory when you say their names and expresses your good wishes. Thank you for being a part of your life. Sit in silence and pay attention to what you experience. Write down the messages you receive in your journal. This altar of ancestors can be created only for Samhain or kept throughout the year.
Feast of the dead. Prepare a dinner of Samhain near the altar of the dead. Add as an offering a little of each drink consumed and in a bowl add a little of every meal served. It invites your ancestors and other deceased to come have dinner with you. You can do dinner entirely in silence. After the banquet, place the contents of the plate and cup of the dead to the outdoors in a natural environment as an offering to the dead.
Stories of ancestors. Learn about the family history. Get in touch with one or older relatives and ask them to share memories of deceased family members. Record what they say in some way and then write in your journal what you learned. Give thanks. Share what you've written with another member of the family or a friend.
Visit to a cemetery. Visit the grave of a loved one in a cemetery. Bring to your mind memories and considers ways in that the love still lives within you. Leave an offering, such as fresh flowers, dried herbs, or a libation of water.
Reflections. Think about your life in the last year. Check your dairy, your original plans, photographs and other annotations you have created during the year that is ending. Consider how you have grown, your achievements, challenges, adventure, travel, and learning. Meditate. Write about your year and your thoughts.
Renew. Select an area of your house or in your life as a focus. Examine it. Reorganize it. Release what is no longer necessary. It creates a better pattern. Celebrate the renewal and transformation.
Magic of fire. Light a fire outdoors when possible or get flames in a fireplace or a small cauldron. Write a bad habit or habit you wish to leave and throw him into the flames of Samhain while visualizing the release. Imagine taking a new shape, healthier, as you move around the fire.
Divinatory guidance. Make use of tarot, runes, divination, or some other method of divination, seeks and reflects on guidance for the coming year. Write a summary of your process and the messages that you have found.
Divine invocations. Honore and call divinity in one or more sacred forms associated with Samhain, like the goddess and the god of nature. Invite them to help you in your memory of the dead and your understanding of the cycle of life, death and rebirth. If you have lost loved ones in the last year, ask the divine beings their support.
Connects with others. Join in a ritual group. Organize a dinner of Samhain in your home. Investigates Samhain customs in ancient and contemporary books, periodicals, online, and through communication with others. Exchange ideas, information, and experiences. Regardless of if you practice alone or with others, as part of your festivities, think for a while to be part of the vast network of those who celebrate Samhain worldwide.