All saints’ day, Halloween
Point of time
31st of October
Samhain is considered by some to be the most important sabbath of the year, a wiccan new year. It is the time of the third and last harvest. In olden days the celebration of Samhain marked the beginning of using food stores created to last the coming winter months. Samhain, being the last harvest, was the finally opportunity for the people to gather enough food to survive the harsh winters as they could only count on grain and animals. Festivities start in the evening of the 31st of October and culminates at midnight.
Most festivities are still done in the 1st of November, the first day of the “new year”. In the old Celtic calendar Samhain was marked as a leap day, which did not belong to a “normal year”. From Samhain starts the darkest time of the year, between autumnal equinox and winter solstice.
During Samhain the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is believed at its thinnest, allowing witches to more easily communicate with past friends and relatives. Samhain’s reputation in both the old and modern world connects it to the cycle of death along with the spirits of the dead.
To wiccans, it’s possible for the spirits of the dead to return to their loved ones. Originally the “festive of the death” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food sacrifices on the altars and thresholds for “wandering spirits”. However the Spirits were not generally “invited”, because it is generally viewed as unethical to bother the peace of the dead unless the Spirits seek out attention.
Lighting a candle to the window is one tradition of the Samhain. The candle acts as a beacon to some as it is meant to lead the spirits of the dead relatives and friends home or as a repellant as it banishes the spirits you wish to leave your home. Extra chairs we set next to table and fireplace for the invisible guests. Next to roads and paths were buried apples for the spirits who were lost or did not have offsprings to take care of.
Cattle were slaughtered during Samhain to be eaten in winter season. Grain left over Samhain was left in the fields for as sacrifice to natural spirits. Samhain has been a great holiday for everyone, because it has often meant a last chance to get fresh eating before next spring.
Wiccans also believe, that Samhain means beginning of the Wild Hunt. The Horned God rides with his packs of dogs and gathers all souls who have been delayed or careless. The Wild Hunt continues over winter.
During Samhain goddess transfers into role of the crone and wiccans ask for her to shed wisdom and guidance upon them. For easier interpretation wiccans use tarot-cards or crystal ball.
High priest can call upon the crone’s spirit to set down into high priestess, which through spirit talks to whole group or a single member.
Rites for the sabbath