Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween or Samhain?

The subject of Halloween vs. Samhain (sow' -en) has been debated repeatedly.  Is one holiday just an older version of the other?  Is one a mocking tribute to a sacred black sabbat?  The answer to both questions is probably no.

Halloween is the fun-filled, secular holiday where people get to don costumes, play pranks, beg for candy and entertain their macabre side.  The word Halloween is a shortened form of All Hallows Even (the day before All Hallows Day).  I love Halloween!  Not only does it take place during my favorite season (fall), but it packs one heck of a level of shock value.

Samhain is a Pagan sabbat.  It marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter.  In my opinion, Scott Cunningham described it best:

"Samhain is a time of reflection, of looking back over the last year, of coming to terms with the phenomenon of life over which we have no control - death.  The Wicca feel that on this night the separation between the physical and spiritual realities is thin.  Wiccans remember their ancestors and all those who have gone before."

Personally, I celebrate both Halloween and Samhain.  During the month of October, I plan, carve, decorate and scare with my family.  The day of Halloween, after the kids are in bed and things are winding down, I take the time out to remember the people who have passed before me. 

How about you?  Do you celebrate Halloween, Samhain or both?  

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