Samhain [s ˠ əu̯n ʲ ] (" Association"), also samuin or Samain [' savin ], together with Imbolc (February 1 ), Beltane (May 1) and Lughnasadh (August 1 ) one of the four major Irish / Celtic festivals. Samhain was celebrated on the eve of starting on the night of November 1st and on that day. He was earlier as the month in the calendar of Coligny Samoni, seen as the beginning of the Celtic year. In the Irish legal texts though Beltane is named as the beginning. In Wales, the feast Nos Calan was Gaeaf ( night of early winter ) called and was one of teir nos ysprydnos ( "the three spirits Nights "). In Irish, means the hard Oíche Shamhna, and English Halloween.


As with all four parties, it was assumed that at Samhain, people have access to the essence of the Other World, especially to the residents of Síd ( Elf Hill ), which are open on this day. It was not advisable, therefore, to leave his home in order not to collide with these representatives of the past. The underworld god Cenn Cruach ( " the bloody head") were offered to Samhain blood - sacrifice to beseech him and the other chthonic deities of fertility. In the worship of Cenn Cruach - idol to Samhain Tigernmas died and took three-quarters of the Irish with the death. A particular compound had Samhain with the Tuatha De Danann, because that day was the second battle of Mag Tuired in which they defeated the Fomorians. Therefore, they can Samhain the Sidhe, in which they were later banned by the Milesians, leave without further ado.

Supposedly since 700 BC, the feis Temhra ( " Feast of Tara " ) were added to Samhain at Tara committed one of the most important Old Irish meetings. Also found that big meeting of Ulster in Mag Muirtheimne place on this day. The presence of every man from Ulster was with other death penalty decreed by the King duty. On the hill of Tlachtga ( Hill of Ward in Athboy, County Meath ) the Samhain fire was lit, from which the individual families took away the hearth fire. In the stories Echtrae Nerai ( " Nera's Adventure " ), Airne Fingein ( " Began One Night Watch" ) and Aislinge Oenguso ( " Oengus ' dream face" ) reports on the connection of the legendary hero with the Other World on the eve of Samhain feast.

In Roman mythology, there were days when the underworld was open ( mundus godfather ) and, therefore, important activities, such as Military, cruises, weddings, should be avoided. One of these days was the 8th of November.

All Saints' Day

A reference to this pagan festival of All Saints was occasionally constructed, but on the other hand is the fact that the November date for All Saints' Day was first introduced in the 8th century in Italy, where Samhain was unknown. In the early Christianized Ireland All Saints' Day was first celebrated in the spring.


Samhain is not only of historical importance, but is reinterpreted especially in neo-paganism. The origins of this festival are here often interpreted differently and neo-pagan authors disagree about the purpose of the festival. So already the date is unclear. It will be cited for November 1 as the feast, while stressing that the festival is based on the lunar calendar and here mostly a fixed moon phase ( for example, the full moon ) is assigned ..

Samhain is the dark pole of the year and thus is Beltane, the light pole, opposite. In the center of the festival is the topic of death. On this day die heroes and gods, epic battles and many important events of mythology take place and make a feast of Samhain " résumé ". Here, many contracts are concluded with the Otherworld or re-dissolved, so that the supernatural enters into this world or the veil between the two worlds are very thin. This background makes the Samhain night to encounter a " between the living and the dead" and thus can also provide insights into modern Halloween rites. Likewise, some authors assume that ancient customs of that time was transferred to the younger Saints.