Samhain is the Celtic festival when the veil between the living and the dead was believed to thin, making contact with the aos sí (the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’) more likely. It signaled the beginning of winter and it is the origin of Halloween. People would wear spooky costumes made from furs & feathers, disguised so the harmful spirits wouldn’t recognise them and take them away.
There would be great gatherings and they’d light ritual cleansing bonfires at sunset and carve scary faces in turnips containing candles. When this tradition crossed the Atlantic, to the new world, this changed to pumpkins.
A massive celebration would take place where Methers of Mead would be shared in Mead Halls around the country including the Great Mead Hall on the Hill of Tara, Tech Midchuarta,shown below. It was custom to spend 6 days feasting, 3 days before and after Samhain. The entrance passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain. The Mound of the Hostages is 4,500 to 5000 years old, suggesting that Samhain was celebrated long before the first Celts arrived in Ireland about 2,500 years ago.