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When to celebrate Samhain?

If you want to honor this pagan tradition, you may wonder when to start the festival. Well, the timing of modern Samhain celebrations varies according to spiritual tradition and geography. Practitioners say Samhain should be celebrated over several days and nights, and the extended customs usually include a series of one-on-one rituals, ceremonies, feasts, and meetings with family, friends, and spiritual community.

In the northern hemisphere, many pagans celebrate Samhain on October 31st, from sunset to November 1st. Others celebrate on the nearest weekend or on the full or new moon that is closest to that time. Some pagans commit Samhain a little later, around November 6th, to more accurately coincide with the astronomical intersection between the fall equinox and the winter solstice.

Most pagans in the southern hemisphere celebrate their Samhain ceremonies to coincide with the middle of their autumn in late April / early May, rather than the traditional European time of the holiday. In the end, it's really up to you.

Samhain isn't necessarily a scary holiday obsessed with death, as some may conclude. It goes deeper and is connected to the rhythms of nature. In many places Samhain coincides with the end of the cultivation phase. Vegetation dies from deadly frost, so death is literally in the air. This underlines the old idea that on Samhain the veil between the world of the living and the realm of the dead is thin, which enables contact and communication. For those who have lost loved ones in the past year, the Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to complete the grieving process and further adapt to their being in the afterlife by communicating with them spiritually. But it's also a way to appreciate life!

There are many rituals that you can perform on Samhain. Here are a few ideas:

Rituals for samhain

1. Samhain nature walk

Take a meditative walk in nature near your home. Contemplate and contemplate the colors, flavors and sounds of the season. Experience yourself as part of the circle of life and think about death and rebirth as an important part of nature. Collect some natural objects and use them to beautify your home.

2. Make yourself a Samhain altar

If you are new to pagan traditions and you don't have a fixed altar yet, you can simply set up a table three days before Samhain. Decorate the altar with symbols of late autumn, such as:

- Pumpkins or root vegetables

- Nuts and berries, dark bread

- Dried leaves and acorns

- A cornucopia with lots of fruits and vegetables

- Mulled wine, wine or mead

- A skull, skeletons, paper ghosts

3. Samhain ceremony

Prepare a meal for the family with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and game meat, if available. Also serve a loaf of dark bread, such as rye or pumpernickel, and apple cider or wine. Decorate the dining table with candles and autumnal items. See the dining table as a sacred place.

4. Create an ancestral altar

Honor your deceased family members with this ceremony. Collect photos, heirlooms, and other memorabilia from deceased family members, friends, or even pets. Arrange them on a table, dresser, or other surface along with multiple votive candles. Light the candles in their memory. While you are doing this, say their names out loud and send out good wishes; thank them for being part of your life or your lineage. Then sit down quietly and pay attention to what you are experiencing. Write down all the messages you receive in a journal. Your ancestral altar can only be built for Samhain, or you can leave it standing all year round.

5. Visit the cemetery

Another way to honor the deaths of family and friends is to visit and care for their grave in the cemetery. Recall memories and reflect on how the loved one lives on in you. Place an offering like fresh flowers, dried herbs (rosemary is a good choice), or fresh water.

6. Hold a séance

As mentioned earlier, Samhain is seen as a time with little distance between the living and the dead. According to pagan tradition, if there is someone on the other side you want to communicate with, now is an excellent time to hold a séance.

7. Take a break

Samhain is also a time to celebrate life, which makes it a great moment to stop and look within. Reflect on yourself and your life over the past year. View diaries, planners, photos, blogs, and other notes you've made. Think about how you've grown, think about your accomplishments, challenges, adventures, travel, and what you've learned. Meditate. Review your past year in a diary.