Rituals for Samhain
An eclectic selection of activities for the holiday, from a variety of pagan traditions.
Continued from page 2
One of the traditions in my Religion is to set a place for anyone who has passed over in the last year at the table where everyone is feasting. Something that they wore (preferably) like a watch or ring is placed on or beside the plate and one can also put a picture of them on the chair. They are included in the conversation which often involves telling wonderful stories about them to those who didn't know them. One can either fill their plate as everyone else's is with their favorite foods(which is later sent home with someone who can leave it outside in a garden) or a symbolic meal of pomegranate seeds, nuts like walnuts or almonds and mooncakes can be used which are then placed on the altar afterwards.
At the end of the feast, an outside door is opened and farewells are said to the departed with good wishes and memories to take along on their journey.
Does anyone go carolling on Samhain? I know the noun is "mummer" but I don't know what the proper verb is. I remember reading somewhere, though, that trick-or-treating grew out of carolling on Samhain and getting mummer's cakes.
I imagine that if you took the words to "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and replaced Christmas with Samhain you'd get the gist of mummering (if that's a word).
What I realised upon reading up on pagan holiday traditions is that there's nothing strange about them at all. As an Englishman most of what I had thought of as the non-religious aspects of holidays like Hallowe'en, Christmas, and Easter come from pre-Christian traditions. They're as familiar as childhood.