Tonight is Samhain, the celtic festival of the dead. A night to remember and honour ancestors and departed loved ones. Traditionally, the celtic day began at sunset and ended at sunset the following day. For this reason, when early Christians co-opted this feast day and invented Halloween, they followed it with All Saints Day to incorporate the holy day entirely.
Although we remember the dead this shouldn’t be a miserable or frightening day. Celebrate the memories of love, joy and friendship. And invite the departed to join the Samhain feast!
Mexicans celebrate a similar festival at around the same time – the Day of the Dead. I’ve also learned that the ancient Etruscans often feasted with their dead relatives. I don’t think they had a specific day when everyone did it but there is evidence of regular feasts being held within Etruscan tombs. I imagine they would hold the celebrations on anniversary days. The loved one’s day of death, or perhaps birth?
Although I don’t believe in spirits or magic I do see the value in remembering the lives of the departed, and the achievements of ancestors. It is a way of celebrating life and, for me, accepting death as a natural component of existence. Also it’s a day to look back and evaluate the year, a celebration of the summer before the winter bites.
Happy Samhain, best beloveds.