Samhain is one of the holiest of sabbats for some pagans. The time when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest. From October 31st to November 2nd, it is believed to be when the dead walk amongst us.
Many Cultures Celebrate Around The Same Idea
Cultures worldwide celebrate this day in different ways, and many of them refer to it by other names as well.
- Latin America celebrates the Day of the Dead.
- Western Christians around the world celebrate Allhallowtide.
- China, Taiwan, Singapore, and other parts of Asia celebrate Zhongyuan.
- The Japanese have the Bon Festival.
- All Saints Day has religious ties to Catholicism and Christianity.
- In Cambodia, some celebrate Pchum Ben.
- Both North and South Korea celebrate Chuseok.
- Gaijatra is a Hindu Tradition
- India celebrates Bhoot Chaturdashi.
- America celebrates Halloween.
- and so on (if I missed any, please let me know)
You get the point, a lot of different cultures celebrate around this time of year. The celebrations all surround the idea that the veil is the thinnest between worlds or the dead walk the Earth during this time.
There Is No Right Or Wrong Way To Celebrate Samhain
I point this out because it should ensure that I speak honestly when I say there is no right or wrong way to celebrate. If you feel drawn to this idea or this time of the year, there are many ways to celebrate, and none of them are right or wrong.
While you explore the beliefs of Samhain, if you feel like it is not a part of your journey, you are not alone. If you think this way but find this time of year important to your path, explore some of the different cultures and holidays, like the ones listed above, and perhaps you will find something that better fits your path.
Symbols of Samhain
Colors: gold, red, black, purple, brown, yellow, and silver
Foods: Apples, root vegetables, pears, cider, dark wines, roasted game birds, and pumpkins
Flowers: Sunflowers, ginseng, wormwood, and calendula
Stones: Smokey quartz, obsidian, turquoise, onyx, pyrite, carnelian, and amber
Easy Ways To Honor or Celebrate Samhain
If this is your first year celebrating Samhain, you don’t have to go out of your comfort zone to honor the long-time traditions. These are some easy ways to bring Samhain into your home:
That’s right. This long-time tradition has roots in paganism. Jack-O-Lanterns served as a beacon for departed spirits, and those with scary faces could keep evil spirits away from your home!
Costume Parties or Family Costume Dinners
Costumes were not only used to blend in with the spirits during the time that the veil was thinnest. Commonly, they are used with magic, intentions, and dressing up as who you want to be, making it more likely to come true. The reason children’s costumes are not all scary, and some are heroes or popular careers.
Make An Altar
Alters for Samhain or alters set up as a memorial to honor lost loved ones can be adorned with mementos, photos, decorations, and whatever you feel may fit to celebrate this time. Traditionally a candle is also lit to guide lost spirits.
Make A Bonfire
You can sit and enjoy the fire and remember those who are lost, or you throw a big bonfire party and share stories, food, and company. A bonfire is an honored tradition, and just as the candle; it is known to guide spirits and celebrate this time.
Make Family Dinner
Traditionally, our ancestors celebrated Samhain in private during the daylight. Family dinner with stories and foods to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest was standard. Sometimes a place at the table is set, and an offering for each serving of the meal would be placed for the loved ones we remember.
Just Wearing Holiday Colors
Even doing something as simple as wearing orange and black during this time is honoring Samhain. Traditionally wearing orange and black was not just convenient for pumpkins and black cats. The symbology of the two colors together is black is worn to represent death, darkness, and the unknown. Orange symbolizes the last harvest and the warmth of autumn. Together, they are worn on this last day of the Pagan year to represent the thinning of the veil, the last harvest, and the traditions of our ancestors!
My Love For Samhain
Samhain is my favorite festival for many reasons. In fact, my father’s birthday falls on November 1st. He passed away when I was 13, I have made a cake for him almost every year, and with the thinning of the veil, I feel he is closer to me than usual.
We all have our personal beliefs and experiences; the point of my post is not that you should celebrate Samhain in a certain way. In fact, it’s not that you should celebrate Samhain at all. I am simply putting out some options for those who may be busy that day or find Samhain as part of their path for the first time.
Conclusion About How To Celebrate Samhain
There is no way to honor this day “correctly.” Simply remembering the day and the meaning it held for our ancestors is enough. In my next post, we will dive deeper into some spells, affirmations, and actions you can do to honor your ancestors and celebrate Samhain in a more ritualistic and ceremonial sense.
As always, thank you for being part of my journey!
I would be happy to answer any questions or hear feedback and recommendations on things I missed and can add to this article.