November 1st, known as All Saints' Day in Christian traditions, is a day dedicated to honoring all saints and martyrs. Its origins are deeply connected to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of harvest and a time when the boundary between the living and the spirit world was believed to be thin. As Christianity spread in Europe, the Church strategically aligned All Saints' Day with Samhain to facilitate a smoother transition for pagan communities. Traditionally, the day was marked by church services, visiting graves, communal feasting, bell ringing, and the custom of 'souling' where prayers were exchanged for treats.
- Aug 10 2022
The Mabon Celtic festival takes place on the Autumn Equinox. Mea’n Fo’mhair is the name that the Druids give to this festival, during which they pay homage to the Green Man, who is considered to be the God of the Forest, by pouring libations for the trees. At this time, it is permissible to make offerings of ciders and wines, as well as herbs and fertilizer. Mabon, like Ostara, is an equinox festival, but unlike Ostara, the emphasis of Mabon is on balance.
- May 14 2022Even though the first day of summer does not arrive until June 1st with the summer solstice on June 21st, ancient Celts believed that the month of May, which they celebrated as Lá Bealtaine, marked the beginning of summer. And who wouldn’t welcome the arrival of summer a little bit earlier? Continue reading to learn more about this ancient Celtic festival and the rituals that are still practiced in Ireland to this very day.
The custom dates back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, during which time people lit bonfires and dressed up in costumes in an effort to fend off spirits. Pope Gregory III, who reigned in the seventh century, established November 1 as the day on which all saints are honored. Over time, several of the customs associated with Samhain made their way into the celebration of All Saints Day.