It’s called All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, Old Hallowmas, Feast of the Dead, Ancestor Night, Samhain and Halloween, names for festivals that happen October 31st-November 1st. A celebration of the final harvest of the year when the yearly growing cycle ends and a new growing cycle begins. In ancient time for many cultures, especially of Celtic nature, this represented the end of the lunar year when the sun’s power was slowly diminishing and the Earth would be in darkness more than in light. It is by some, believed to be the night when the separation between the Earth and Spirit world is thinnest, allowing deceased souls to return to Earth for the night, thus the reason for remembering/ honoring ancestors and/or recently passed loved ones. Some Samhain rituals may include a silent supper, where a great feast is prepared and empty places are laid out as a spot for those deceased family that join their loved ones in the feast.
For some Christians at this time of year celebrating saints and deceased souls is also common practice. The early Christian church to entice the non-Christian believers, created a day of remembrance for Christian saints and deceased loved ones. This created All Saints Day on November 1st and All Souls Day on November 2nd. Not all Christian churches recognize these celebrations, but many do and celebrate them as Fall Festivals w/many of the same symbols as a typical Halloween party. Pumpkins, apple bobbing, leaves, hay rides, corn, feasts, treats, wearing of costumes, games, bonfires, etc. And on November 1st, the Christian church honors the multitude of Christian saints and for the individual churches they may recognize the loss of dedicated members who have passed in the last year with candle lighting and calling of names. So as a Christian witch to honor your deceased loved ones and/or ancestors, by including pictures of them on your altar or calling their names as part of your ritual on Halloween night, you are following both your Christian faith and the Craft.
I’d like to share my typical celebration on Samhain/Halloween especially with my children! During the day, we head outside and enjoy the signs of fall, the changing and falling leaves, acorns, the animals gathering food for winter. We gather baskets of leaves, acorns, remove any plants from my garden that still need to be harvested and put our final touches on outdoor and indoor Halloween decorations. In the evening, we set out our carved jack-o-lanterns on the porch with a lit candle for protection over my home. Then we have a small dinner as a family (trying to use common foods for a fall feast) and then the children and I get into costumes and head out to trick or treat our neighborhood! Upon returning, the kids enjoy a few pieces of candy each while the adults have some homemade mulled cider. Once the children are in bed, I hold my personal solitary ritual, thanking God/dess for all I have been given, honoring my passed over family and friends and asking for continued blessings for the remainder of the year.
Though we are preparing to enter the darkest time of the year, we carry within us the brightest of light because of Jesus/Yeshua. may it bring you peace and light on your darkest of days! Blessed be in Yeshua/Jesus and Happy Halloween/Samhain!