Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Celebrating October 31

Each Year as October 31 approaches, I get really excited... almost like a kid before Halloween. It's my favorite holiday and I celebrate it with my husband (and bunny rabbit) as Samhain (pronounced sow' en). This is the eighth spoke of the wheel on the Wiccan Calendar and the last of the harvest rituals. It is a joyous time for celebration much like New Year's Eve and yet it is also a time to be thankful in remembrance of ancestors. Usually the colors of autumn are beginning to wind down and the nights are colder. The day before my holiday I usually do a thorough housecleaning and a blessing in each room with a spritz of salted water. I also finish the cleaning of bathroom floors and kitchen counters with a damp rag and witch hazel (only because I love the smell). Then it's out to the store to buy the fresh ingredients for my harvest dinner. Although I am not a vegetarian, I love fresh vegetables and they are always present at my holiday dinners. The pumpkin will be carved into a face that always seem to look like my beloved Grandpa McCoy. Then my seeds will be soaked in salted water, dried, and baked into a tasty treat. The table will be set with extra plates for relatives who have crossed over and happy celtic music or solemn baroque will be playing (depending on my mood). Of course there will always be the interruption of the trick or treaters who come to my door for candy, but this is a welcome treat as I remember the joy I once had "begging for candy." There will be a candlelight dinner and a toast of remembrance, as well as poetry readings and ceremony. The night will end with a bonfire (weather permitting) or a retreat to my candlelit "meditation room."
This year, however, my usual plans needed altering. My step daughter's wedding took place on mischief night and on Samhain, there was a big family gathering of out of town relatives meeting for dinner. Since I don't advertise my spiritual affiliation, my usual rituals were out the window. It didn't really matter... one must be flexible, and after all, a wedding only comes once a lifetime... at least that's the way it's hoped to be. The whole family shared wonderful stories of the previous night's event and shared a sumptuous meal that was prepared by the chef in the family. There was laughter and merriment well into the night. It was more like a New Year's Eve party than a Halloween Party... and yet with a wink to the flickering jack-o-lantern, I kept the sentiment to myself.

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