The holiday idea of Halloween comes from Samhain, also known as the feast of the dead. It is a festival that celebrates the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter season, as well as what is considered the darker half of the year as the days grow shorter. It’s a Gaelic tradition and is mainly celebrated as such by Irish people as well as Wiccans and Celtic neopagans. In other societies, they celebrate the popular holiday that is known as Halloween. The rituals of Samhain include honoring the dead with dancing and healing, most of which happen around a large bonfire. It is a dual festival with Samhain in the fall and Beltane in the spring. Unlike Samhain, Beltane is considered the day of the living by some as its when all of nature begins to bloom and live again.
Samhain is the one time of year where the veil between life and death is very thin. It is the day best used for contacting the dead. It was adopted by Christians and deemed all hallows eve and then all saint’s day followed after. However, either way you look at it, they are still celebrating and honoring the dead. During this celebrating the spirits of the dead are invited to join in the festivities. Even though the concepts of Halloween were taken from this holiday, they are two totally different holidays.
Ways to celebrate Samhain include nature walks where you meditate in nature and reflect on death and rebirth all while observing the sensations of the season. Some people decorate with the traditional orange and black and use wreaths and candles. Visiting cemeteries is a popular way to celebrate as it helps connect one with the spirits of their ancestors on this day more than any other. Many who celebrate this festival also use tarot cards to seek guidance from the wandering spirits. You can also call upon the divine during this ritual so they can teach you the importance of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
This day was called the Celtic new year but has also been called the Witches New Year, it is 1 of the 8 festivals that are commonly celebrated by pagans and Wiccans. Yule, Beltane, Midsummer, and Mabon are all common festivals celebrated by these groups of people. This is also celebrated by the Mexican people, as Mexico is big on celebrating what they call Day of the Dead. It’s a joyful ceremony where they celebrate the lives of passed loved ones and honor them with cleaning their headstones, leaving little tokens on their resting places and even placing a dinner plate for the passed loved on during this time in case they would like to visit one last time.
So really, no matter what way you look at it, there are many ways to celebrate the spirits of those who have passed. Enjoy honoring their memories in any way you like.