Also known as: Halloween, Ancestor Night, Feast of the Dead, All Hallows Eve, Hallowmass, Samana, Samhuinn, Samonios, The Feast of Sam-fuim, Geimhreadh, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic)
Date: Generally October 31, but some traditions hold it on November 7, or on the first Full Moon in Scorpio
Symbols: Cauldron, Jack o'Lantern, Mask, Cauldron, Balefire, Besom
Deities: Crone Goddesses, Dying/Aging Gods, Sacrificial Gods, Death and Otherworld Deities
Colors: Orange and Black
Herbs: heather, mullein, patchouli, and sage my be burned; acorns, apples, pumpkins, oak leaves, straw, broom, dittany, ferns, and flax may be decorations.
Samhain (SOW-in or SAV-ayn) marked the beginning of the old Celtic new year, and many Celtic Pagans still observe Samhain as the renewal of the Wheel of the Year.
This was the night that the old God died, returning to the Land of the Dead to await rebirth at Yule, and a time when the Crone Goddess would go into mourning for her lost son/consort, leaving her people in temporary darkness.
As in days long past, Celtic Pagans believe that the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead is at its thinnest on this night, and that the spirits of our departed loved ones walk the earth, visit family and friends, and join in the ritual celebrations. This makes Samhain a prime night for any type of spirit contact rituals.
The feeding of the dead is a widespread practice, even in modern Celtic lands. In Brittany and Ireland food is always left out for these spirit travelers, and candles are placed in windows to guide them along their way, and these were the origins of the modern Halloween customs of the jack o'lantern and trick-or-treat.