We’re embracing new traditions this year. Halloween is something we’ve only just started to dabble in last year when we went to a couple community parties. This year we’re going to spend a little time learning about what exactly we’re celebrating on this day. Samhainn (sow-in) is the Gaelic word for “Summer’s End” and was the time that people celebrated the end of summer or the end of the harvest and the darkening of the days before the winter.

It’s also a time when people believed that our world and the Afterworld were closest allowing spirits to cross over and visit us. Many people took this opportunity to honour their dead loved ones. I think we’ll do this with pictures and stories.

Of course we’re going to carve pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds!

We don’t eat commercial candy, avoiding the artificial colouring or flavouring so we wont be going trick or treating. We’ll have plenty of good quality chocolate (like we do any other day here) and we’ll probably do some sweet baking. Maybe some Honeyed Seedcake…

We’re going to two community parties where Lily and Leif can show off their new costumes. My mother in law sent a couple beautifully home made ones earlier this week. We were so excited to see what she made.

Leif is Dracula with his lined cape, cummerbund and pants. We’ll put a shirt and shoes on him on the day of.

I vant to drink your blood

Lily is a Geisha. Cam and I are joining forces to make her a pair of Geta sandals. Lily and Cam worked yesterday to build the base and I’m going to work today on the padded straps. I almost want a pair of my own!

Check out these sleeves!

I’m sure I’ll post more after the celebrations!

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4 Responses to Ready for Samhain

  1. Debbie says:

    Annie…Sounds like a beautiful way to celebrate the “holiday.” We don’t eat commercial candy either. Isaac does get plan potato chips on very rare occasion…but I don’t give him much in the way of refined sugar at all. Having said that we do go trick or treating…I think it’s more for my husband and myself than for Isaac. We let him keep a few bags of chips…and that’s about it…maybe a box of smarties. The rest goes with my husband to work. His co-workers love him.
    I think it’s so important to introduce rituals with meaning and that speak to our parenting styles -things we can rationalize.
    I’m going to steal your idea about honouring loved ones who have passed. It’s a beautiful ritual and a great way to keep that love alive.

    Happy Samhainn!

  2. Kaily says:

    That Dracula costume looks great, all he needs is a little blood on his face!

  3. debbie says:

    Great costumes! We trick or treated tonight, and we don’t eat this stuff either. One girl has traded in her candy for a quality organic (etc) chocolate bar, and the other has “given her candy to the pumpkins” in hopes for a little something in exchange (um…an organic chocolate bar?!). We are slowly introducing more earth-based traditions as we learn about them – our nature table has photos of loved ones who have passed, and E asked if we could leave out a quesadilla tonight to feed the spirits…maybe on Samhain!

  4. Lucy Dolan says:

    Hi Annie
    Samhain has survived here in rural Scotland in one way or another despite the Christianisation of things…. Guising – what trick n treating was originally called – is alive and well and the central part of the festival, as well as dressing up of course. We used to make neep lanterns (turnip), which is an age-old thing too, and take them as we guised with a candle lit inside. We always got nuts and apples in our bags, then the occasional sweet, sometimes a few pennies. Apples were really important too – I guess the apples would be abundant at this time of year so there are many rituals involving them – apple dookin of course, and throwing apple peel over your shoulder to see what letter shape it lands in – that is supposed to signify the initial of your future lover. We’ve also been talking about the history of the festival, which weaves in Irish, Scottish (Highland) and other traditions. I think the costume aspect is from the practice of communing with the dead souls – the living would welcome the ancestors back so they could help them predict the coming months, so they tried their best to look like the spirits so the two could mingle freely when the division between the living and dead worlds was at its thinnest. It is apparently called “souling”. I like that idea! It was also the end of the year and the beginning of the new one, the darker months too of course. Anything to get through the harsh winter months. Sorry if you know all this already! I have a lovely account of a Highland halloween written by a woman in the early part of the C20 on tape. I will try and dig it out if you are intrested. I am sure I have a book about traditional Scottish beliefs and rituals too somewhere… I will dig it out and send you the title. Lucy x

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