Today is Halloween in the US. In many places around the world, ancient based traditions celebrate today as a Late Harvest Festival.
Syncretism is a term that means when one religious or cultural tradition overlays the more ancient one of a region. Many modern ultures have holidays or celebrations that hold whispers of the past in them.
In the Celtic tradition it’s called Samhain (pronounced Saa-ween or Saa-win) a holiday honoring the last of the Harvest, the coming of winter a celebration of the New Year. It’s also the time when the veil between the physical and Spirit worlds are closer. Perhaps this is why we focus on All Things Scary at this time without even realizing where the tradition came from.
In Mexico, the ancient earth based festival of the Dead called El Dios de los Muertos, is celebrated from October 31- November 2. Interesting history is found here. Families celebrate their dead ancestors with food, flowers and decorating of the graves. A very fun movie we recommend is The Book of Life. Although a cartoon, it’s a wonderful movie for all ages.
Today's Halloween has more to do with candy, scary stuff and sexy costumes...a far cry from our ancestors. To us, it's another sign of our culture moving away from a connection to each other and the earth and replacing it with corporate disconnect. It's become about money and buying junk food filled with chemicals that litters the planet with plastic wrappers and costumes made of petrochemicals, many of which will simply be tossed in landfills after one use.
We aren't suggesting removing ourselves from our culture, but, perhaps, adding to it. For those of us who want more connection to our history and each other, we suggest sitting in the garden either alone or with your kids. A simple thing would be to just sit and think about the life cycle of the garden this past year: Remember when you planted it, how it grew, the harvest and now the skeletons of it or the new growth you’ve put in for a winter garden. Think about the abundance of the Earth and how you felt helping it grow and then reaping its benefits.
Then have a wonderful meal with some of the veggies and other fruits of your labor. Sitting just a minute or so before eating, acknowledging the wonders of where a meal came from is a beautiful simple practice that can change things in our families and our community. We don’t know how or why. All we do know is that when they are done with true gratitude, focus and attention, they just do.
My family would like to share this short poem that we say at our meals:
With permission by the Author- Starla (my daughter)
Happy Late Harvest!