Samhain is an ancient Celtic Spiritual tradition. It is a Gaelic word and pronounced “Sow-Win”. Samhain is a Pagan practice and is known for welcoming in the dark half of the year and is one of the four fire festivals. This fire festival is in the middle of Equinox and Solstice. It is believed that this is the time that the veil is the thinnest between the physical realm and the spiritual realm allowing interaction between the two worlds… 

In the middle ages carved turnips called “Jack-0-Lanterns” started surfacing, they would have coal inside them and be tied to sticks with string. Later on Irish tradition changed the turnip to a pumpkin, before being adopted in 19th century America through Irish immigrants taking their tradition across the waters. 

Trick or Treating came from ancient Ireland and Scotland and their customs. In Ireland, in the evenings leading up to Samhain there was a custom called “mumming” and the Irish would put on costumes, knocking on each door whilst singing songs to the spirits and cakes were given as a way of payment. There was a “dumb supper” this is where children would play games to entertain the spirits and the adults would speak to the spirits telling them all about what had happened in the past year. The windows and doors would be left open allowing spirit to enter and eat the cakes that had been left for them. 

The reason we wear costumes and masks today is because they were used so people could disguise themselves as harmful spirits to avoid harm from evil spirits. Samhain has also had the tradition of Halloween pranks in the ancient era of the celebration, back then though, the tricks were blamed on the Fairies… 

Since then times Samhain or Halloween has seen a revival with the ever growing popularity of Wicca since the 1980’s. Wicca honours Nature and our Ancestors and Wiccans still hold the traditional fire ceremonies. In America, witches balls are often held around the time of Samhain to celebrate this time of the year.

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