Samhain

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A Neo-Pagan Samhain ritual
This early 20th century Halloween postcard illustrated by Ellen Clapsaddle depicts an African American child dressed as a ghost and holding a jack-o'lantern mask; the figure's right arm is printed on a separate piece of card stock fastened with a metal rivet that allows the arm to move so that the viewer can cover and uncover the child's face

Samhain, also known as All Hallow's Eve, Hallowe'en, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, Last Harvest, Ancestor Night, Feast of the Dead, and Nos Galan Gaeaf is a seasonal Pagan and Neo-Pagan festival which is celebrated as one of the eight holidays on The Wheel of the Year.

In the Northern Hemisphere it is held on October 31 - November 2 (alternatively from November 5 -- November 10) when the Sun is at 15° Scorpio.

In the Southern Hemisphere it is held on May 1 (alternatively from May 4 - May 10) when the Sun is at 15° Taurus.

Samhain, sometimes called "the Celtic New Year," is a celebration of the end of the "light half" of the Solar year and the beginning of the "dark half" of the year. Historically a Gaelic festival, it is popular at the present time among those of Irish, Scottish, and Celtic descent, especially in the United States, where, under the name Hallowe'en, it is a major secular holiday as well as an important survival of ancient Pagan rites.

Activities associated with All Hallow's Eve include feasting, contact with ancestors, the lighting of bonfires, mediumship and divination, the carving of jack o'lanterns, bobbing for apples, and the ever-popular tradition of dressing in costumes and going door-to-door trick-or-treating.

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