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Samhain and All Hallows Eve ~ What’s the difference?

It’s the ancient holy season of Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve.  Did you know that these are two very different celebrations!  All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween as we know it in the west is secular folk holiday that has evolved to be both a family-oriented children’s holiday as well as an occasion for those of all ages to creatively express themselves and engage in play in the realm of make-believe and fantasy through costumes, trick-or-treating, storytelling, play-acting, pranks, cathartic scary place visits, and parties.

Samhain pronounced saah-win or saa-ween, on the other hand is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year and is an ancient Celtic Fire Festival.  It is a cross quarter holy day on the great Wheel of the Year that marks the midway point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.  It is time of recognizing the changes of the seasons, of the death cycle of nature when vegetation dies back with killing frosts and is celebrated by many traditions as a time to honor our ancestors who have passed including Dia de los Muertes, All Saints Day, All Hallows, Day of the Dead.

Samhain, is therefor seen as a time when the “veil is thin” between the world of the living and the realm of the Dead and this facilitates contact and communication. For those who have lost loved ones in the past year, Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to bring closure to grieving and to further adjust to their being in the Otherworld by spiritually communing with them.

Ways to observe Samhain:



Image:  Werble

Celebrating Samhain

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Nice article.


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