A few years ago, a New Zealand friend asked if we were going to host another Sam Hayne party in November. The question actually threw me a bit at first (I thought he was referring to some traditional Irish musician I hadn’t heard of) until I realised he was actually talking about Samhain, the ancient festival that’s bizarrely ended up as a precursor to Halloween.
Over the last few centuries (and the last few decades, in particular), Samhain has gradually been disassembled, replaced by the more commerically-based ‘Halloween’ or reinvented by people with their own agendas (‘Celtic’ fantasy writers, Celtic ‘Recreationists’, commercial ‘druids’ etc. etc.). The sad truth however is that unless you live in a place where the turning of seasons has a real and genuine impact on your life, Samahain probably has all the cultural authenticity of a modern-day Christmas and there’s now very little resemblance (okay, none) to the original festival from which it was derived.
As part of some work on the original Samhain tradition I was doing a few years back, I created a (very) simplified quiz to explain how ‘Samhain’ was transformed to to the contemporary celebration of ‘Halloween’ over time.
This is still very much at an early stage of development and forms but a tiny part of the whole story but if you want to test your understanding of Samhain and Halloween, please feel free to give it a go.
Just click on the image below.