Samhain part two – The Veil Lifts A Little Higher

Okay so I’ve been researching Samhain at various sites but I still need to research more before I can write a full article (or mini series) about the history of the holiday.

The short list of what I have gleaned so far is:

1. It’s a time of celebration. (Stating the obvious with this item).

2. It’s not about sacrifices, blood feasts, severed limbs, or intense gore.

3. The masks were worn to ward off negative energies so that the celebration wouldn’t be ruined.

4. It was a time of harvesting the crops and animals in preparation for the winter months when food is scarce. This was especially true in the northern regions where the winter would be the harshest.

5. The roots of Samhain are pagan in origin. It was another holiday that christian leaders took over in order to convert the so-called ‘heathens’.

A short list that will be expanded as I go into heavy-duty research mode for the rest of this month. I think I’ll get to a library or two and look up information the old-fashioned way.

What are your perceptions of the Samhain. Halloween. holiday?

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Samhain by any other name……

Historically Halloween? Hysterically Halloween? 

A Short list of information about the Autumn Festival of Ancestors.

Samhain (sow-ween, sow-when, sam-haine, sav-en,sow-in) was not always the Halloween of modern times. And today it seems (to me) to be more like Hollywood-ween.

Hollywood’s influence on the originally pagan holiday can be seen as soon as you walk into just about any store that sells exclusively Halloween items. From the bloody stumps to the gory masks, it seems that the holiday is seen as just another reason for splatter.

So I’m on a quest to get to the real history of the holiday. I’m looking for information that is presented in a non-biased manner.

This article on about.com  – The History of Halloween & Samhain is a good start. Although I wonder if this part  -“People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables.” – is more about preparing food for the winter months rather than sacrifice.

Halloween on the net is another interesting site.

Kells Festivals has more information about the holiday from the pagan point of view.

Here’s an entry from encyclopedia.com

Samhain

The Oxford Companion to Irish History | 2007 |

Samhain (1 Nov.), the first day of winter and one of the four traditional ‘quarter days’, important in the calender customs of Goidelic‐speaking areas up to the present century. The eve of Samhain was believed to be a time of supernatural occurrences: according to medieval sources the dwellings of the fairies were revealed, and modern folklore associates the night with divination and the dead. The name appears to contain the element sam‐ ‘summer’, perhaps alluding to a belief in the inversion of other‐worldly time.
John Price Carey

History channel’s online information is a bit more detailed. It appears to be informative without the influence of religion and Hollywood.

So there’s the list of starting points for the research. A lot to read and digest and summarize and paraphrase and then put into a great article for the blog.

I’ll post a follow up article on Wednesday. 

Also check back on Friday for a little creepy story about drinking with Death.

What’s your favorite idea of Halloween/Samhain?