Samhain

pronounced SOW - AN but variations occur such as SOW - WAIN, SOW - WIN - Gaelic Celtic


This holiday coincides with Hallowe'en on the 31st of October. To the Celts, this marked the first day of winter and was observed in Ireland, Scotland, and on the Isle Of Man (with their own spellings of the word such as the Manx as Sauin. Since the Celts saw their days began and end at sunset, usually Samhain started at Sunset of 31st October and continued through to 1st November until Sunset again.


In Wales they celebrated a similar festival called Calan Gaeaf and Kalan Gwav in Cornwall, as these are both Brittonic Celtic cultures and so Samhain wouldn’t be a word they used unlike the Gaelic Celts.


Some Neolithic passage tombs in Ireland are aligned with the sunrise at this

time also. In early Irish literature, Samhain is said to be marked by great gatherings and feasts, and ancient burial mounds were open and they were seen as portals to the otherworld.


The Aos Si (Spirits) were appeased to make sure the people could make it through winter, and the souls of the dead were said to visit their loved ones and their homes, and a place at the table was set for them during a Samhain meal.


Children would be dressed as monsters, or disguised, in order to imitate or otherwise hide them from the Aos Si which is where we get dressing up for Halloween from.


The claims that this was the Celtic New Year or ‘Witches' New Year’ are both disputed by Ronald Hutton - Historian, saying there is no historical evidence of such but the term has been argued over time by different scholars.


Samhain is not a god, nor a demon.


So get your pumpkins (or your turnips) ready!




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