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 Happy Samhain/Halloween/All Hallow's Eve/All Souls' Day!

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PostSubject: Happy Samhain/Halloween/All Hallow's Eve/All Souls' Day!   Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:54 pm

Samhain: "Sam" and "hain" meant "end of" and "summer" to the Celts. They observed only two seasons of the year: summer and winter. So, Samhain was celebrated at the transition of these seasons. Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat. It is generally celebrated on October 31, but some traditions prefer November 1. It is one of the two spirit-nights of each year, the other being Beltane. Originally, the Feast of the Dead was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the wandering dead.

To Witches, Samhain is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called 'The' Great Sabbat. Pagans consider Samhain the most magical night of the year, and it occurs exactly opposite of Beltane on the Wheel of the Year. It is upon this night that the veil which separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest, making it a Night of Power.

Witches observe this day as a religious festival. They consider it a memorial day for dead friends and family. It is still a night to practice various forms of divinitory arts such as scrying and rune casting. Since Samhain is considered the New Year, it is considered a time to wrap up old projects, take a good look at one's stock in life, and consider new projects and endeavors for the coming year. Bonfire, hearth fire, candle - gaze into the flame and revisit ancient heritage. Draw friends close and leave an offering for the whispering and wandering ghosts.

Halloween: Halloween (also spelled Hallowe'en) is also commonly called All Hallow's Eve in Catholic traditions, and is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints’ Day. It is largely a secular celebration, but some have expressed strong feelings about perceived religious overtones. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America during Ireland's Great Famine of 1846.

All Souls' Day: In Western Christianity, All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. This day is principally observed in the Catholic Church, although some churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox churches observes several All Souls' Days during the year. Based on this tradition, when someone passed, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory, and Christians believe that they may help cleanse the deceased by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass.

All Souls' Day is also known as the Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed. The official Latin designation Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum, on which this last name is based, is rendered more literally in Portuguese Comemoração de todos os Fiéis Defuntos and many other languages. Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos or de los Difuntos) is used in Spanish-speaking countries, and Thursday of the Dead (Yom el Maouta) in Lebanon, Israel, and Syria.

The Western celebration of All Souls' Day is on November 2 and follows All Saints' Day, which commemorates the departed who have attained the beatific vision. If November 2 falls on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls, but the Office is that of the Sunday. However, Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) for the Dead, in which the people participate, may be said. In pre-1969 calendars, which some still follow, and in the Anglican Communion, All Souls Day is instead transferred, whenever November 2 falls on a Sunday, to the next day, November 3, which was the case in 2008.

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