Tomorrow is Samhain (pronounced sow in), the most solemn feast on the Pagan calendar. It is the Third Harvest, the harvest of root vegetables and meat. This is the time of the year when all livestock that could not be kept over the winter would be butchered for meat. It is also the Celtic New Year.
The Pagan celebration of Samhain greatly resembles the Mexican Dia de los Muertos. Samhain is the time of the year that all the souls of those who have died in the previous year cross over to the Summerland. We often have ceremonies where candles are lit for the dead, and their names are called to honor them. I will be calling the name of my aunt who died in January.
This is also the time when it is said the veils are thinnest between the living and dead, thus the prevalence of ghost and ghouls this time of year. Sometimes one of my grandparents will contact me at this time. Usually it’s Grandpa J and he wants me to pour him a beer.
But it’s not all sad. Because the veils are thin, and this is the beginning of a new year, this is also the time to do divinations for the upcoming year. A traditional one is to make a dish of colcannon, which is like mashed potatoes with cabbage in it, and to put into the dish objects for divination, traditionally a button, a coin, a ring, and a thimble. The person who gets the coin will be wealthy, the ring will get married, and the other two objects both say there will be no marriage, a button for the bachelor and a thimble for the spinster.
Costuming is also a part of this day. Traditionally the costuming was so that the ghosts that were out and about couldn’t find you. Nowadays we just do it for fun. Often we will have a masquerade ball built around a Samhain ritual. I missed the one earlier this month, no money, no time, no Boyo.
Tomorrow will be a quiet day for me. I still have things to do, but I will probably take some time to think on those who have gone before me, and say hello to them. And maybe pour them a beer.