On the 31st of October our regular group of White Witches and Druids gathered to celebrate the festival of Samhain.

This is an ancient celtic festival which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter or ‘darker half of the year’. The event marks the mid-way point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

Samhain has been linked with the Christian All Saints (or All Hallows Day) and both have strongly influenced the secular customs of Halloween.

It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints Day, and All Hallows Eve provided the last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world.

 

In order to avoid being recognised by any soul who might be seeking such vengeance, people would wear masks or costumes, a custom which forms a key part of the current Halloween celebrations.

Although the Americans take the blame for another part of modern Halloween,Trick-or-Treating, this practice can be also be traced back in our own history, and their only claim to fame is the pumpkin, a vegetable which originated in the USA.

The QECP Halloween activities, whilst aimed at a younger audience made reference to common themes, promoting respect for nature, the oral tradition with storytelling and the wearing of masks and costumes.

More information about the White Witches and Druids can be found in an earlier post from the 23rd September.

The Samhain celebration was part of a seasonal programme. The next event takes place on the 21st December which is the Winter Solstice. More information can be found on www.dorsetgrove.co.uk

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