Happy Samhain & Irish Halloween

3 folk museum harvest weaving detail

Harvest weaving from the last grain stalks of the harvest, which ends at Halloween.  This weaving contains the spirit of the harvest and is hung in the house until the first fields are plowed in spring.

Samhain officially begins on the Full Moon- this year of 2017 that means November 3rd after sunset. Village bonfires would be lit at sunset throughout Ireland and all hearth fires extinguished, to be lit again at dawn from the coals of this community bonfire, creating a bond between all.

Halloween= Hallow E’en= Hallowed Evening= Holy Evening= Holy Saints Eve= All Saints Day= Samhain

Halloween has its origins in Ireland, where it is still practiced today in ways which date back to pre-Christian times. The day of Halloween is called Oiche Shamna in Ireland now- Night of the Spirits, but was formerly the feast day to celebrate Samhain; most commonly pronounced sow (as in cow) hin, a festival which lasted for three days after, and by some accounts before, the full moon. It signifies the last day of the harvests, the first day of Winter and the beginning of the Celtic Year. In the lunar calendar, which predates our Roman-inspired solar calendar, Samhain is celebrated after sunset of the full moon of this season.

This is the time of the Feast of Autumn, celebrated with a bonfire, a tradition which continues today in parts of Ireland. The last stand of ‘corn’ (wheat, barley or oat) was left unharvested to be made into a weaving which contains the spirit of the harvest and brought into the house for the winter, then returned to the field, plowed in with the first plantings to ensure a bountiful year.

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2 responses to “Happy Samhain & Irish Halloween

  1. Michelle Downes

    Are you going to hold the Ethnobotany & Traditional Skills Course next year? I am so sorry to have missed the start of class. Please let me know if you suggest anything similar or along the same lines?
    Donna Kelleher (WholePetVet) introduced me to your site.
    Thank you so much.
    Michelle Downes

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