Living in the Irish countryside our Halloween (All Hallow’s Evening) has much more in common with Samhain, pronounced ‘sow’ (as in pig) ‘un’, than with the trick-or-treating of the USA.
    Originating in the mists of time, the Celtic Samhain marks the halfway point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice and some ancient Irish ruins are aligned to the Samhain sunrise. Samhain marks the end of the harvest, the empty fields, the trees and animals starting their hibernation ahead of the long dark winter.

    It was a truly magical time when the spirits of the dead rose again and wicked fairyfolk wandered amongst the living trying to steal their souls. This is believed to be the origin of dressing up & wearing masks in order to confuse the fairies. Animals were slaughtered for the winter & great bonfires lit to lighten the darkness to come so one can imagine that a great deal of feasting and merriment was to be had.

    Here endeth today’s lesson!

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