Samhna, Halloween, Hallowe'en, Celtic "Feast of the Dead," Samhuin
All Saints' Day, Allhallows, Hallowmas, Allhallowmas
Place in the Natural Cycle
Samhain (pronounced "Sow-en") is the cross-quarter festival that marks the start of the winter quarter of the
year and the end of the autumn quarter. By Samhain, threadbare trees and colder nights make it clear that winter is near.
More About Samhain
Samhain is the time of the third and final harvest when, in earlier days, cattle were brought in from summer pastures. Excess
livestock was slaughtered and the meat smoked or salted for winter. Samhain is a time for divination and honoring the dead,
for the veil that divides the mundane and subtle realms is considered to be particularly insubstantial on this day.
To the Celts, this was the Feast of the Dead and the Night of the Wild Hunt. Samhain marked
the Celtic New Year and was the most important of the festivals. As with other festivals, Samhain is not constrained by
the artificial midnight to midnight divisions of modern conception, and it is usually considered as starting at sundown
on October 31st and ending at sundown on November 1st. Thus much of the celebration of Samhain does occur at the most appropriate
The Christian tradition treats Samhain as a Festival of the Dead too, with the souls of departed saints remembered on 1st
November (All Saints' Day), and those of the non-canonized dead the following day (All Souls' Day). The Church established
All Saints' Day in the seventh century when the Pantheon in Rome was consecrated as the Church of the Blessed Virgin and
All Martyrs, recasting both the Festival of the Dead and the Temple to All Gods in terms of Christian theology.
Samhain is a time to look back to the past and forward to the future. It is beneficial to reflect on those you have known
and the experiences you have shared, as well as to take the time to view the possibilities ahead of you. Samhain is a profound
time of the year, offering the opportunity of understanding.