Blessed Samhain's meaning explored as pagan festival comes around

Eve Edwards October 31, 2021
Blessed Samhain’s meaning explored as pagan festival comes around

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For many, 31 October is the day to celebrate Halloween. Yet there are some who favour the pagan festival from which it was derived: Samhain.

With the spookiest time of the year now upon us, the world around you might be dominated by Halloween. From snaps of celebrity costumes taking up your social media timeline to streets being adorned with jack-o’-lanterns, the festivities are all around. Come 1 November, these decorations and entertainments will be quickly swapped out for Christmas trees and tinsel. But in the midst of this holiday transition, Samhain takes place.

So, if you’ve stumbled across the phrase ‘Blessed Samhain’ and are curious to know more about the pagan holiday, you’ve come to the right place.

Edinburgh, UK – October 31, 2015: Costumed and painted performers in front of a crowd of thousands during the 2015 Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket.

What is Samhain?

Samhain is a pagan religious festival which commences in the evening of 31 October; it runs until the evening of 1 November. Samhain has roots in an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition.

The festival celebrates the end of the harvest and ushers in “the dark half of the year.” It was considered by Celts to be the most significant of the four quarterly fire festivals. Samhain takes place at the halfway point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

During Samhain, it is believed that the barriers between the physical and spirit worlds break down, allowing interaction between humans and those in the Otherworld. Much of the traditions associated with Halloween such as trick-or-treating and wearing costumes originates with Samhain.

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Meaning of ‘Blessed Samhain’ explored

If you have come across someone saying (or typing) ‘Blessed Samhain’, you might be curious as to what they really mean.

The phrase is used to celebrate and appreciate Samhain. It also can be said as ‘Samhain Blessings’. It is a celebratory turn of phrase used on the day, just as one would say Merry Christmas or Happy Halloween.

Samhain’s literal translation from Gaelic to English means “end of summer.”

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How to say Samhain

The word Samhain is a Gaelic word. Gaelic is a ‘subset’ of the Celtic languages and so it comes as no surprise that a Gaelic word was to be chosen and used.

It is pronounced “SAH-win.”

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.