Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samhain Night

I wonder how many people realise what they're really celebrating. The origins of this auspicious day where people dress up and hand out candy, carving faces into pumpkins. Do they know that it was once, long ago, a Celtic holiday ushering in the dark half of the year, and waving farewell to the time of abundance?

Fires were lit, masks were worn, the dead ancestors were welcomed into the home during this night when the veil was thinnest between this world and the Otherworld. Those evil spirits were kept away by the masks worn, a guise to warn them not to dare enter. It heralded the beginning of winter, the beginning of a new year; and what better way to begin the new year than to dine with ancestors you lost long ago? They called it Samhain.

Much of the beauty, the symbolism of this night has been lost, drowned by commercialism of the western world. But once, this was not only one of the holiest nights of the year, but one of the most beautiful.

While many frown upon it today, this tradition of the Celts, they forget that it is they who appallingly took over the holiday of the simple country people, uprooting it to an extent, then placing another holiday the day after, blessing all the saints. Ironic how those who are meant to love and accept are those who follow their rules the least.

But we remember. And as long we live, this will never die.

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