Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was traditionally celebrated over the course of several days. Many scholars believe that it was the beginning of the Celtic year. It has some elements of a festival of the dead. The Gaels believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain; because some animals and plants were dying, it thus allowed the dead to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.
The Gaelic custom of wearing costumes and masks, was an attempt to copy the spirits or placate them. In Scotland the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white. Samhnag - turnips which were hollowed-out and carved with faces to make lanterns - were also used to ward off harmful spirits.
The Gaelic festival became associated with the Christian All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, and has hugely influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween, a name first attested in the 16th century as a Scottish shortening of the fuller All-Hallows-Even. Samhain continues to be celebrated as a religious festival by some Neopagans.
So this 2010 Samhain is going to be a lot of things for me, I have started cleaning out old things I don't wear, use or have looked at in a long time. I going to my very first Samhain party! I have managed to find a way to pay more on my bills each month by getting my car insurance lowered and I can't begin to tell you how much better I feel there!
I am going to truly follow the Wheel this year, I am going to stitch something for each turn of the wheel with what it means and corresponding colours, stones etc and will be really putting ME first! God and Goddess live within me and I am going to honor them more in my daily life and build some altars for different things within my apartment where I can light a candle say a prayer and then go about my day a little more peacefully and of course MORE professionally.
Blessed Be to all my friends and loved ones, may you have a wonderful safe and happy New Year!