Well my third favorite time of the year is nearly upon us. As the air grow colder the leaves change into beautiful colors of fall and begin to fall making blankets covering the land. Children run and play, crushing leaves beneath their feet. It is a time of cider, candied apples, candy corn, and pumpkins.
It seems that this time of year truly captures the hearts of many. But the celebration that now occurs this time of year is about far more than just wearing funny costumes, trick-or-treating, and carving pumpkins into a wide verity of faces and scenes. It is about the ancient fire festival of Samhain. (pronounced Sa-win).
This festival marks the end of the 'light' part of the year and the beginning of the 'dark' part of the year. It is the last of the harvest festivals where there is an abundance of foods for feasting.
Originally this was a Celtic celebration to honor the Dead as this time of year was believed to have the thinnest 'veil' between the worlds. It was believed that through magic and ritual this 'veil' could be lifted completely at this time of year so that the spirits of our Ancestors could come back to the Earth. But of course this also meant that other types of spirits could cross over during this time as well. That is why pumpkins where used. In some folk cultures it was simply any kind of gourds. The light was sent out to scare away those things that feared the light.
So it doesn't matter if you are Pagan or not... remember this time of year is about the death that finds all living things. It is about the resting time which comes from that death. And it is a time to honor those who have passed into the Summerlands.