Samhain (pronounced SAH-wane) is a Gaelic festival celebrated from sundown on October 31st to sundown on November 1st, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.
From Wikipedia: “Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is known to have pre-Christian roots. Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them. Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a liminal time, when the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) could more easily come into our world. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. It was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink were left for them.” (Wikipedia – Samhain)
We don’t have any livestock, and I’m not sure how our landlord feels about bonfires in the backyard – so we’re going to make a small offering of food to the Aos Si (pronounced “EES SHEE”). Aylish put a small bowl of crackers and a cup of milk out for them. Here’s hoping they will show their favor on any livestock we may acquire in the future.
Do you celebrate Samhain? Share your traditions and stories in the comments!