Samhain – The Celtic New Year
Whether you use the Gaelic pronunciation “Sow-en”, “Sow-ween”, “Sah-ween” or the Americanized version “Sam-hain” (yes that is an acceptable pronunciation), it’s still the biggest holiday on the Pagan Calendar.
It’s the start of the Celtic New Year and honors the year that has passed. It is the time when the veil of forgetfulness is lifted between the physical world and the spiritual world. Where the dead are honored and communication with spirit can take place more than any other time of the year.
For pagans it’s a time of celebration, but it’s also a time of reverence and deep spiritual reflection for the past and the future year to come.
An article by the Library of Congress states: Pagans divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.
Pagans follow a Lunar calendar and the day would begin at sunset. Celebrations for holidays therefore would also begin when the sun set and the moon rose. This is why we start our Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st and continue them through the day on November 1st.
Where many will say Happy Halloween, the proper salutation for pagans would be Merry Samhain. Continue reading