It's Halloween, once again. This year we're going to talk about it from a Galician point of view: the Samain.
Samain is the most important Celtic origin festival of the pagan period, which dominated Europe until its conversion to Christianism. It's celebrated on the night of October 31st and November 1st as the end of the harvest season and it was considered as the Celtic New Year and the beginning of the dark season. Etimologically, the word Samain means the end of summer.
The person who rediscovered this tradition in Galicia was a primary school teacher from Cedeira (A Coruña), Rafael López Loureiro. He realised that this tradition still existed all over Galicia less than thirty years ago. He also discovered its suvival in areas of Caceres, Zamora and Leon, where Galician language and traditions are alive.
He also studied the relationship between the pumpkin tradition and the death festivities similar to British traditions. He even discovered some peculiar things, like in Quiroga (Lugo), where the emptied pumpkins are left to dry and kept to be used as masks at Carnival (Entroido).
Nowadays, Samain is still celebrated year after year in many cities and villages in Galicia, such as A Coruña, Ferrol, Cedeira... The village of Ribadavia (Ourense) celebrates the "noite meiga" (the witches' night), when the village gets full of ghosts, witches, vampires and Ribadavia's castle is the perfect setting for this terrifying landscape.
Happy Samain! Happy Halloween!
More posts about Halloween @ ClickOnEnglish here.
Galician version of this post @ ArquivosDoTrasno here.
Links to Halloween Fun activities.