Probably the most recognizable of the Wiccan Sabbats, or Sabbaths, Samhain, (pronounced “sow-win”) is considered the most important Sabbats of the Wiccan Wheel of the year. It is one of the two spirit nights each year, the other being Beltane. At Samhain, the laws of time and space are suspended and the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is lifted. It is at Samhain that we communicate with ancestors and departed loved ones as it is the easiest time to do so. At this time of the year, the recently departed make their journey to the Summerlands to meet old family and friends while waiting to be joined by those they left behind.
It is a time to reflect on the past and consider the future. To put away the old and prepare to welcome the new. Most commonly celebrated around October 31st, to coincide with the end of the harvest, in the Southern Hemisphere it is commonly celebrated around May 31st, to coincide with the end of the harvest there.
Most modern people recognize Samhain as Halloween. Known more formally as all Hallows eve, Halloween absorbed the practice of honoring the dead from Samhain and then evolved it into a remembrance of those Saints canonized in the past year.
Samhain is celebrated with many different rituals, some of which provide unique challenges for those not living in or near rural areas. The most common is pumpkin carving, but many today would be surprised to learn that originally turnips were carved and lighted in celebration. The next most common is the bonfire or even two bonfires. This is to awaken the spirits and to attract them. It is customary for Wiccans to leap over the fire to help with the attraction.
Samhain is also a time for Fairies or Elementals. This is when they play pranks on the unsuspecting. In order to distract them from these pranks, they were offered treats. Sound familiar? Think “Trick or Treat.”
A great Treat Recipe are Fairy Cakes
While intended to be left in your garden for the elementals, they are also a great treat for your little ones, and even big ones, as well.
½ cup wine, red or white depending on your taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup of flour1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
½ cup honey
Mix egg and wine in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Then stir this mix into the egg and wine mix. Let this stand for about 30 minutes. While waiting, mix the honey and nutmeg in another bowl, until well blended. Set this aside for later.
Heat about ½ inch of cooking oil, I use vegetable but whatever type you like to use will work, in a frying pan. Make sure it is hot, about 325 – 350 degrees (a good trick is to put a single popcorn kernel in the oil and then cover the pan. When the kernel pops, the oil is at the right temperature) Drop your cake batter, one large spoonful at a time, into the batter and fry until golden on one side. Turn over and fry until golden. Remove the cakes and place on a paper towel to drain. Then, just dip them into the honey mix and enjoy.