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Wheel of the Year: Samhain

By Christopher Penczak

Samhain (pronounced Sow-wen or Sow-ween) is the New Year’s celebration of the pagan traditions. Samhain is a celebration of death bringing new life, drawn from the Celtic traditions of Europe. It is one of the four fire festivals, or holidays between the solar holidays of the equinoxes and solstices. Fire festivals are usually associated with purification. The purification on this day was to prepare for the coming winter.

Traditionally, it’s the time of the meat harvest, when the herd is slaughtered for food in the winter months. Such a harvest is probably why the holiday is associated with death and the afterlife. On this day, the veils between the worlds of the living and dead are said to be the thinnest. From fear of this belief, we have the corruption of this holiday and birth of Halloween. The reason why children dress up in scary costumes was to scare away any ghosts and goblins who passed through the veil between worlds and now walked with the living. Glowing jack o’lanterns played the same role.

Read the original article at: Christopher Penczak

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