On Halloween, we also celebrated Samhain, a Gaelic festival marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. It is also called the darker half of the year as it falls between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice.
Along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh, Samhain completes the four seasonal celebrations. Imbolc celebrates the beginning of Spring and occurs in February, Beltane marks the beginning of summer and is celebrated on May 1st, and Lughnasadh celebrates the harvest season falling in early August.
Samhain was seen as a time when the door to the Otherworld opened for the souls of the dead to enter our world. The souls of dead kin were invited to attend feasts with a place set at the table for them. It has been likened to a festival of the dead. The custom of guising or dressing up may have started in an attempt to protect people from harmful spirits.
This was my blessing for Samhain this year…
On Samhain, I celebrate my family and friends that have left this world, and although I miss them dearly and their absence in our lives is painful, I know that their journey is not over.
Prayer of Farewell for Samhain
You are going home to your home of winter,
To your home of autumn, of spring, and of summer;
You are going home to the Land of the Living.
To the restful haven of the waveless sea.
Peace of the Seven Joys be upon you, beloved,
Peace of the Seven Loves be upon you, beloved,
On the breast of the Mother of Blessings,
In the arms of the Father of Life.