In late October and early November, many witches, Wiccans and other pagans around the globe celebrate Samhain, believed to be an ancient Celtic festival in celebration of autumn harvest and the onset of winter.
1. Samhain is typically celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 1, almost halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
2. Samhain is pronounced “sah-win” or “sow-in.”
3. Some modern pagans consider it the “witch’s new year,” and the end of the harvest season. It is a time of renewal and spiritual intention-setting.
4. Rituals surrounding Samhain include bonfires, dancing, feasting and building altars to honor deceased ancestors. Some pagans bake special loaves of Samhain bread and leave offerings to the spirits outside their homes.
5. Samhain is one of eight annual festivals commonly celebrated by pagans of various traditions, along with Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnassad and Mabon.
6. It’s considered a liminal time, when the veil between life and death grows thin. Food is set aside for ancestors and protective spirits and rituals honoring the dead take place.