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James Parton
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Post by James Parton » Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:28 pm


For many of us, our past Celtic ancestors celibrated Samhain. Samhain is the holiday which celebrates the end of the warm ( light ) summer season and the beginning of the cold ( dark ) winter season. The Celts began their traditional new year at this time. Samhain begins at sunset on October 31st and lasts through November second. Samhain is also celebrated as a festival of harvest. The Celts also believed the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinnest at this time and they held celebrations to communicate with and venerate the dead. They may have thought the veil was thin at this time of year because they saw so much life dying back for the winter around them.

They celebrated with bonfires and by placing candles in hollowed out turnips. Pranks were also part of the celebrations. The hollowed out turnips became the Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins we see today on Halloween. The Celts also took time to pay homage to their Gods & Goddesses at this time. Many Pagans and Neo-Druids still do so today, many following their own personal rituals. It has been said that Satanists love the holiday but I don't know how much of a degree that is true.

For others, Some of Samhain's traditions carry over into Halloween, or All Hallows Eve. Many Christian churches avoid Halloween or at least try to. They celebrate it as " All Saints Day " or Fall Festival. Mexico has the period of Oct 31-Nov 2 as " The Day of the Dead ". But no matter how you label it, Samhain's customs can be seen. I think Most Americans see it as a harmless day for kids to trick-or treat.

For me, as a student druid, Samhain is a celebration of the fall harvest and the beginning of the colder time of year. Here, I thank God, Yes, the Christian God for the summer I have just had the pleasure of living through and for a good winter to come. I thank him and Mother Earth, Known by Druids as Dana or Gaia, for all that is provided for us. Trees/Forests and the gifts of the natural world deserves much thanks from us.

The goulish stuff is ok, I am a werewolf fan! But like most Americans, I look at Halloween as a day for kids trick or treating. Just fun.

Samhain ( Pronounced Sow-en ) is the first of eight holidays or sabbats on the wheel of the year, used by Druids and Pagans, Here they are:

Samhain: ( October 31-November 2nd )
Yule: ( Winter Soltice ) Around the 22nd of December.
Imbolc: February 2nd
Ostara: ( Spring Equinox ) Around the 21st of March.
Beltaine: ( May Day ) May 1st.
Summer's Eve: ( Summer Solstice ) Around the 21st of June.
Lughnasadh: August 1st.
Mabon: ( Fall Equinox ) Around the 22nd of September.

I will give descriptions of them as we go across them. Some have inspired Christian Holidays on of very near them.

You may ask " What has this got to do with trees ". Remember, the natural world was very much a part of the ancients lives and they lived and breathed it, unlike much of the nature-detached society we live in today. But we as ENTS should be able to appreciate the old sabbats as a way to see and appreciate the natural world.

So " Happy Samhain " to all of you!
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James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids ... Itemid=145

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