Sunday, 7 October 2012
Historically within paganism Samhain is celebrated on October the 31st, a date that modern folk know as Halloween, yet this date is not one that is easily identified unless you have a wroking calendar in place and are aware of the dates. Unlike the Solstices and Equinoxes, which can be identified by the relative position of the Sun (using natural or man placed markers (such as Stone Circles, Menhirs, etc), the 4 Celtic Cross festivals, the so called 'greater' festivals have no astronomical marker (that we are aware of), but are signified by being half way between the Solstices and Equinoxes.
One Tradition we studied with used another set of dates, Samhain was marked by the first Frost of Autumn, Beltaine by the First Blossoming of the May (Hawthorn) in spring, Yule and Midsummer were celebrated at the Solstices, but other festivals were less important to that group. The use of first frost to date Samhain works on many levels, it signifies the death of many crops and foodstuffs, plus the end of certain berries and fruits, it gives an easily identified point that does not require the use of calendars or astronomical observation, is it not likely then that this marker was used more bny our ancestors than a rigidly set date that relied upon observation and calendars to set its dates?