SAMHAIN (pronounced sah-win, sow-in, sah-vin) is a Celtic word that means "summer end".
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In pagan and Wiccan religions, this is the time when the Goddess is in Her third aspect, the Crone. She is symbolized by the waning moon. It is said that the God dies before He is reborn at Yule, the Winter Solstice. It is when those who have gone before are remembered.
It is believed that the veil between the worlds is thinned and that the dead could roam freely on the Earth. One tradition during this time was called the Dumb (Silent) Supper. As a sign of honor, a place was set at the table for the departed. The plate was filled with food for their spirit guest. The supper would be completely silent. It was believed that looking at the chair was bad luck. Also, to placate any evil spirits roaming around, food was placed on the doorstep to ward them off.
Another tradition happened to be to wear a mask if one had to travel on that night. It was to fool the spirits.
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Many use this time for divination.
As Catholicism spread, the church kept some of the practices from the original. It was when All Soul's Day came about as well as the name All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) or All Saint's Day.
Interestingly Dia De Los Muertos has similar rituals as Samhain although it was an Aztec holiday. It boasts of honoring the dead, spirit visitation, and the offering of food.
Originally it was a month long
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