The traditional European festivals of Hallowe’en, Samhain, the Feast of the Dead and All Soul’s Eve’ are celebrated on or around October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the seasonal equivalent of our May Day. Samhain, the hallowed eve’ (or Halloween) marks the true end of Summer and the beginning of Winter’s quarter of the year, the portion of the year dedicated to the night forces. Persephone assumes her role as Queen in the underworld and according to tradition, this is when the dead walk among us and return to their homes. Celebrations honoring the dead, both departed loved ones and scary ghosts are found as far back as ancient Egypt and within as varied cultural groups as the Iroquois and Huron in the New World, and the Celts, Romans, Britons in the Old. I haven’t found any evidence that Central American countries celebrated this holiday until after the Spanish Conquest but they’ve made up for lost time with their three day El Dias de los Muertas. All of these festivals take place between the Autumn equinox and the Winter Solstice, although the Huron festival was only celebrated every fifteenth year or when the tribe made a major geographical move, leaving behind the bones of the departed. Commemorate this time by listening to Mozart’s Requiem and lighting a candle to honor your ancestors, your teachers, those explorers who have gone before and who walk among us this night. Watch some movies dealing with the supernatural: The Gift, Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes, or Dead Again. This genre has something for every taste, check out the Halloween Movies category in my Amazon Favorites.
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