Samhain, Halloween, and Día de los Muertos

by Mystic Valley


Samhain (pronounced SOW-win) is one of 8 Sabbats, which occurs on the night of October 31st and into the morning of November 1st. To most modern folks, this is the night known as Halloween, but this night has deep and ancient roots in the Celtic tradition and many other traditions. It is where the dead can cross over to the realm of the living.

Samhain is mostly translated in Gaelic to mean "summer's end" and marks the start of the winter season.  The end of the harvest was a time to celebrate the hard work that went into growing enough food to survive a long winter. Ancient practices included bonfires, gatherings, and rituals that led to modern-day trick-or-treating.

At this time, the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest, making it an ideal time for spirits to visit their loved ones. Many put together an ancestral altar with candles and jack-o-lanterns to help guide your deceased ancestors. Some people set out a plate of their ancestor’s favorite foods as an offering while they dine in silence.


Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows' Eve, which is a Christian holiday observed on October 31st, the evening before All Saints', or Hallows', Day.

The celebration marks the day before the feast of All Saints' Day, and it initiates the season of Allhallowtide, which lasts 3 days and concludes with All Souls’ Day.

Día de los Muertos

The holiday, which is celebrated mainly in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, is like a family reunion, but dead ancestors are the guests of honor. Day of the Dead is a joyful time when people celebrate the memories of their deceased loved ones.

Like Samhain, candlelit altars in homes allow spirits to find their way back to relatives. Altars include offerings of favorite foods and items that were important to their ancestors.

Then it is off to the graveyard for a big party. Families bring a feast to eat while they clean tombstones, sing songs, and talk to their ancestors. Do not forget the skeletons! They are not to scare us, but to remind us that death is just part of life.

Remembering Vito Ponticello...
Thanks for 35 years in October!

Speaking of crossing over and remembering, if you come in and shop, make sure you check out the altar we have for Vito on the side wall behind the coffee bar. We include a candle for Vito to find his way, an offering of a glass of wine, crystals for good Vito vibes, and bells and chimes to clear the space for him to enter.

Vito's mission was to create positive transformation in people's lives by encouraging both discovery and discussion of their spiritual paths. We just celebrated 35 years of being in business this October and we appreciate all Vito did to get us to where we are today. It is the time of year to remember those who have crossed over, and we are doing just that!

Be the first to comment...
Leave a comment