This time of year is full of mystery, cold wind, and rattling leaves, no matter what your beliefs. The ancients thought it to be a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. That meant you could contact or feel those that had passed beyond the veil – our ancestors.
Pagans today continue this tradition, and honor those that have passed before us. It is not a celebration of the Celtic God of the dead, but a celebration of the summer’s end. November 1st (or to some, the full moon closest to that modern date) represents the first day of the new year, the beginning of winter.
People would light giant bonfires and burn sacrifices to the Celtic gods, as a way of sharing a bit of their bounty with those they honored. This was also a part of cleansing the bad luck of the old year in preparing for the new one. They would honor their ancestors, remember the wisdom they shared, and offer libations to their shades.
When the Christians came along, they used the day as a transition, designating it All Hallows’ Eve to continue the tradition of honoring those who had passed beyond. It melded the two belief systems into a common goal.
No matter what your beliefs, remember those who have passed today. Cherish a memory. Share.
My own grandfather used to bake as a hobby. I remember as a child, we would make pizza together. It was a horrible, Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee in a box square pizza that tasted like cardboard – but it was something we both did together, and I treasure the memory.
My great-grandmother was a collector, and she had endless figurines and decorations that fascinated me as a child. She’d spend time with me talking about each one, sharing her own memories of her past life.
On this day, remember those who you loved. Whether a sister, a grandfather, or a favorite aunt. They are still thinking about you on the other side.