It is nearly halloween again and people are going crazy for it here. I always found it strange how it was invented in Ireland but it not until lately that adults dressed up here along with children. In the last few years have I noticed a lot of people in amusing costumes in town and I was a bit jealous that I had not bothered. To remedy that I am going to a party in a spooky old house tomorrow night.
A bit of research on Sahmain is interesing. It is the festival of mongfind. It surely is a good night to find people monged out on the street.
Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/, /ˈsaʊ.ɪn/, or /ˈsaʊn/ in English; from Irish samhain [ˈsˠaunʲ], cf. Scottish Gaelic samhainn [ˈsavɯɲ], Old Irish samain [ˈsaṽɨnʲ] “summer’s end”, from sam “summer” and fuin “end”) is a festival held at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic and Brythonic cultures. Principally a harvest festival, it also has aspects of a festival of the dead. It had its roots in ancient Celtic polytheism, and continued to be celebrated through medieval times, and is seen as contributing to the modern celebration of Halloween. Many scholars believe that it was the beginning of the Celtic year.
The term “Samhain” derives from the name of a month in the ancient Celtic calendar, in particular the first three nights of this month, with the festival marking the end of the summer season and the end of the harvest. Samhain was also called the Féile Moingfhinne ie “Festival of Mongfind”. According to Cormac’s Glossary, Mongfind (mod.Irish spelling Mongfhionn) was a goddess the pagan Irish worshipped on Samhain. The Gaelic festival became associated with the Catholic All Souls’ Day, and appears to have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween. Samhain is also the name of a modern festival in various currents of Neopaganism that are based on, or inspired by, Gaelic traditions.
Bonfire actually comes from throwing bones on a fire. I am sure nobody thinks that is odd.
Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames. In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the primary unit of currency and the center of agricultural and pastoral life. Samhain was the traditional time for slaughter, for preparing stores of meat and grain to last through the coming winter. The word ‘bonfire’, or ‘bonefire’ is a direct translation of the Gaelic tine cnámh. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together.
Witches all over the world love it, duh.
Samhain is one of the eight annual festivals, often referred to as ‘Sabbats’, observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four ‘greater Sabbats’. It is generally observed on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.
Blatantly stolen from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain