Author Topic: Samhain, the Summer's End  (Read 2677 times)

M Sidhe
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Samhain, the Summer's End
« on: October 31, 2006, 02:34:10 PM »
Samhain ("SOU-in" or SOW-in") is Irish Gaelic for the month of November. "Samhain" meant "end of summer." The ancient Irish observed only two seasons of the year: summer and winter. So, Samhain was celebrated at one of the transitions between these seasons.

Samhain was also the point in between the old Irish year and the new. "In between" places were significant in the myths and folklore of the Irish. Samhain was considered the time when the boundaries disappeared between the living and the dead, and between the worlds of mortal and fey (also known as fairies or Sidhe). Holy and unholy creatures, Sidhe and the spirits of the deceased might walk the night.

Irish people once believed that fairies and goblins were able to enter the human world during Halloween, and would try to take people away to fairyland. To those who are only familiar with the modern idea that fairies are happy and fun, this may seem like a wonderful idea. But Irish legends are filled with tales of mean-spirited sprites who steal babies from their loving parents, spirit away young women from their human lovers, torment or curse animals and crops, and cause all kinds of mischief. Note that the term for fairies, Sidhe, is pronounced "shee" and the frightening "Banshee" (literally "female fairy") is not exactly someone you want to meet!

If you meet a fairy on Halloween, it is said that you should take the dust from the road under your feet and throw it at the fairy - then the fairy is obliged to set all its human captives free!

Folklore tells that Halloween is a good night for divination, because the veil between the present and the future is thin. Many Irish Halloween customs involve discerning future lovers or spouses, one's fortune in the coming year, or finding out who will die soon.

In ancient Ireland, hearth fires were extinguished on Samhain and rekindled from a ceremonial fire lit by Druids. Irish kings used to gather at Tara for feasting, enacting new laws, settling disputes, righting wrongs and reciting the histories of their land. The Samhain festival lasted 3 days, and the high point was a communal meal called Fleadh nan Mairbh (the Feast of the Dead). In this meal the spirits of the honorable dead were invited to share a meal with their living relatives.

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Re: Samhain, the Summer's End
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2007, 05:28:14 AM »
I've also heard that anyone born on Samhain is gifted with the two sights - the ability to see the faeries and spirits no matter what time of the year.
Great care must be taken in the shadows - only God knows what lies within them.