Okay, so it’s a little early here for Samhain as the sun is still up – and I’m one of those who celebrates from sundown tonight to sundown tomorrow night – but I figured I’d post now since I’m in between things. I’ve carved up our pumpkin and named him Fred and I’ve got pumpkin seeds drying out in the kitchen before I roast them. I’ve got pumpkin meat in the fridge until I’m ready to do something with it. I’m planning on making my first pumpkin pie, but may wait until tomorrow when I’ve got Joshwa home to try it. We have another pumpkin, but I got so tired carving the first one, I figure we’ll just cut the second in half, scoop it, and roast it whole since I’ve been told that it’s easier to get the meat out that way.
I haven’t lit the candles in his head yet and I am debating lighting another candle to keep burning. Because we aren’t planning on staying up all night, we won’t be leaving a candle burning all night, but I can live with leaving the tea lights burning until they burn themselves out in his head. I am also planning on doing a memorial ritual for my grandparents tonight after Joshwa gets home. I’m even thinking about throwing some stuff into the grill and using that as our “bonfire”.
Now, I’m going to go into this briefly – what is Samhain and is it really a traditional holiday? My brother-in-law (an Orthodox who is currently serving our country in Afghanistan) recently blogged about All Saint’s Day, in the process forwarding the ideal that a Christian holiday was co-opted by modern Paganism, thus dismissing the holiday as valid. Now, I will say this – the ancient Celts did not live by a solar calendar, like we do now, so NO November 1st is not always the exact date that Samhain was once celebrated. So does that mean that we have simply co-opted a Christian holiday? No.
See, once you move to a solar, 12 month calendar, you have to make adjustments. Samhain is the beginning of the dark season – the winter season. And, as per the Irish calendar, that begins in the month of November. I fully believe that even if there wasn’t a holiday that fell on November 1st, we would still celebrate now since it is the start of the month closest to the last harvest, which signals the beginning of winter. Now, I am all for celebrating for several days – as was done traditionally – and maybe I will one day when I have a houseful of children who are at my disposal (since we plan on homeschooling). And I’m more likely to celebrate into November than I would to start in October – but that’s just me. ^__^
So I don’t discount that All Saint’s Day may or may not have been set on November 1st (it was originally set in May) – but since we know very little about the last of those Pagans who were hanging onto their ancient traditions, we can’t know when the celebration was set on November 1st. I will but point out that many of the traditions associated with Halloween ARE based on the ancient holiday of Samhain, as well as other Pagan traditions – like Dia de los Meurtos. So, while I don’t see a need to compete (which holiday is hijacking the other), I also see know enough to feel completely comfortable celebrating Samhain today – not because I’m taking over a Christian holiday, but because it connects me as closely as I can be with my ancient ancestors.
So brightest blessings tonight and for the time of rest that follows. Now I have to hurry up and go light my lights in Fred – the suns almost down!