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Thread: Happy Samhain!

  1. #1
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    Happy Samhain!

    ...and a happy Samhain

    All Saint's Day and ...Samhain - Oct. 31 / Nov. 1

    The church has historically been one of the very best adaptive organizations, adopting and moulding festivals that pre-existed us.

    What we now call Hallowe'en was once the first Celtic fire festival of the year. The Irish name for the holiday is Samhain (sow-een or sow'-inn), which refers to the whole month of November. Samhain comes from the old Gaelic "samhraidhreadh" meaning "summer's end".

    A sort of Celtic New Year’s Eve, the old pagan fire festival marked the beginning of the dark half of the year. It was a harvest festival as well as a signal to begin preparations for the winter -- the season of death.

    Like the Mexican Día de Muertos, this holiday would include (and for many modern Pagans still does include) feasting and rituals to honor dead ancestors and loved ones -- the Fleadh nan Mairbh. Ceremonies involved fire, lights and setting out food and gifts for passing spirits. Some spirits were friendly and could bring good luck, while others were evil or mischievous.

    This was the root of the masking tradition we now know as trick-or-treating. After conversion to Christianity, most of these folk customs were still enjoyed though different meanings might be assigned to some of the elements.

    All Saints Day, the day after Samhain, was the primary Christian response to the pagan festivities. It is a time for prayer and worship dedicated to the dead in general, not merely canonized Saints, as one might expect.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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  3. #2
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    Thanks Padre. And to you as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Father Bill View Post
    The church has historically been one of the very best adaptive organizations, adopting and moulding festivals that pre-existed us.
    So many don't realize that a lot of Christian holidays were "scheduled" to offset or coincide with other culture's celebrations.
    Tulach Ard

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacKenzie View Post
    Thanks Padre. And to you as well.

    So many don't realize that a lot of Christian holidays were "scheduled" to offset or coincide with other culture's celebrations.
    Were I to share some of the best research, a lot of people might even lose some of their various faiths. I don't see it that way, but I know a lot of folks lean on factuality. Glad you're comfortable with it. I don't frankly assume that Christianity is the only religion that's ever done that over the millennia.

    I like sharing some of the Celtic traditions on this very Celtic site, and since religion is my main beat, some of the traditions I share are always going to be in that vicinity.

    And with that, I think we need to close the topic before I breach the forum's rules.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacKenzie View Post
    Thanks Padre. And to you as well.



    So many don't realize that a lot of Christian holidays were "scheduled" to offset or coincide with other culture's celebrations.
    If the Shepherds were tending their flocks by night, Jesus was born in the Spring, not at the Winter Solstice. It's a little bit of ancient paganism, a bit of the cult of Mithras, a bit of Bronze Age astronomy/astrology to have it at the Solstice.

    But hey, it still works two millenia later.
    Those ancient U Nialls from Donegal were a randy bunch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Father Bill View Post
    ...and a happy Samhain

    All Saint's Day and ...Samhain - Oct. 31 / Nov. 1

    The church has historically been one of the very best adaptive organizations, adopting and moulding festivals that pre-existed us.

    What we now call Hallowe'en was once the first Celtic fire festival of the year. The Irish name for the holiday is Samhain (sow-een or sow'-inn), which refers to the whole month of November. Samhain comes from the old Gaelic "samhraidhreadh" meaning "summer's end".

    A sort of Celtic New Year’s Eve, the old pagan fire festival marked the beginning of the dark half of the year. It was a harvest festival as well as a signal to begin preparations for the winter -- the season of death.

    Like the Mexican Día de Muertos, this holiday would include (and for many modern Pagans still does include) feasting and rituals to honor dead ancestors and loved ones -- the Fleadh nan Mairbh. Ceremonies involved fire, lights and setting out food and gifts for passing spirits. Some spirits were friendly and could bring good luck, while others were evil or mischievous.

    This was the root of the masking tradition we now know as trick-or-treating. After conversion to Christianity, most of these folk customs were still enjoyed though different meanings might be assigned to some of the elements.

    All Saints Day, the day after Samhain, was the primary Christian response to the pagan festivities. It is a time for prayer and worship dedicated to the dead in general, not merely canonized Saints, as one might expect.
    Mt daughter was born in the wee hours of All Saints Day. I thanked the Irish guy on the front steps (Jack O'Lantern) for guarding the house when I returned from the hospital at noon.
    Those ancient U Nialls from Donegal were a randy bunch.

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    Happy Halloween / Samhain Everyone!




    Cheers

    Jamie
    -See it there, a white plume
    Over the battle - A diamond in the ash
    Of the ultimate combustion-My panache

    Edmond Rostand

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  12. #7
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    Most excellent!
    Tulach Ard

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    A friend shared this episode of the Throughline Podcast with us in another forum, well worth the listen! All about the history of Halloween, and they touch heavily on its Irish and Scottish roots.

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