Samhain is the tradition that gave rise to our current day celebrations of Halloween. Samhain (pronounced: sow-en) is a pagan holiday that is celebrated on October 31. It marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter.
In the past, Samhain was a festival for the time between the old year and the new year. It was a time for having bonfires and playing tricks. It was also thought a time when people could make contact with departed loved ones and foretell the future.
Today some people have special ceremonies on this day. Some people have parties and other people have special dinners.
One interesting dinner dish is called Colcannon. This dish is made of potatoes and cabbage. Items are put in the dish that are thought to tell the future. Traditionally these items are a thimble (for a spinster), a button (for a bachelor), a ring (for a marriage), and a coin (for prosperity).
The following recipe for a Samhain dish:
4 cups mashed potatoes, 2 - 1/2 cups cabbage (cooked and chopped
fine), 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup onion (chopped very fine and sautéed), 1/4
teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Blend all ingredients (except cabbage) over low heat.
Turn the heat to medium and add cabbage (will be slightly green).
Stir occasionally until warm then add fortune items. Stir well.
Some people use decorations for their ceremonies or dinners. Fun things to use for decorating are autumn leaves or flowers, pumpkins, gourds, and autumn fruits and nuts. Candles also make pretty decorations for Samhain.