Friday, October 15, 2010
Celtic New Year - Postcard Friendship Friday #33
Most historians believe the holiday of Hallows Eve began with the Celtic festival of Samhain. In old Irish the name means "summer's end." Ancient Britons held a similar festival known as Calan Gaeaf. The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half" and is sometimes called the Celtic New Year.
The Celts believed the border between our world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing both good and bad spirits to pass through. It is thought the tradition of wearing costumes and masks began at that time when people would disguise themselves, believing this would fool any harmful spirits.
Samhain was also a time to take stock and harvest food supplies for the coming winter. When all was ready for the great cold, there was a great feast and all families built bonfires into which they would cast the bones of the cattle they'd butchered.
It is always so interesting to see how our traditions got started. I found this one to be particularly fascinating--perhaps it is the Irish in my soul.
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