November's All Souls' Day, observed on November 2nd in the Christian calendar, is deeply connected to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. This day of remembrance for the departed has its roots in the Celtic belief that spirits could walk among the living at this time. A poignant tradition from this intertwining of cultures is the placement of an empty chair near the fireplace. This "chair for the departed" symbolizes a warm welcome for ancestral spirits, a remembrance of lost family members, and a protective gesture to ward off malevolent entities. The custom beautifully encapsulates the blend of Christian and Celtic traditions that mark the beginning of November.
celtic new year
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.