Information about the Wiccan Celebration of Samhain

Also known as Hallows & All Saints Day - it is a Harvest Celebration

Samhain is the Celtic New Year. It is generally recognized as the time when all Wiccan's celebrate the new year and when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest. At Samhain witches honor their dead relatives, ancestors and friends, as well as invite them home to share in the warmth of the fire, good food and good times. In a manner of speaking Samhain is a celebration of death. This is often a difficult and confusing practice for persons of other faiths to understand.

Please note that Samhain is NOT Halloween. Another name for Samhain is Hallows. And Halloween is All Hallows Eve. Samhain is the day AFTER Halloween - November 1st. Most covens and temples celebrate Samhain on the Saturday closest to the actual date. Some of the confusion of Samhain & Halloween is that many Pagans begin their Samhain celebrations at the stroke of midnight on November 1st. As a result, it appears as if we are celebrating Halloween. However our midnight mass is not much different from the midnight masses celebrated by Catholics on Christmas Day.

Samhain is regarded by many pagans as the highest of high holy days. As a result Life Temple and other Wiccan groups around the country, see a very high interest in attendance on or near Samhain. Each year in the weeks prior to the celebration we are contacted by many who would like to come to a Samhain ritual and feel a part of a like-minded community. Unfortunately this is rarely possible. Most traditional groups will not allow someone they have never met to come and participate in such an important event. Safety and security of the group is just one of the many reasons why "once a year" pagans are not welcome to Samhain rituals.

If you find yourself looking for a place to worship on Samhain and you've waited until October 15th or later, it may be difficult to find a place to go. We recommend that you contact a group well in advance of the actual date. Give them the opportunity to get to know you. Meet the High Priest and Priestess and attend at least one or two Full Moon rituals with the group. This will greatly increase the odds that you'll be allowed to attend rituals like Samhain and Beltane, even if you don't participate any other time of year. It's not a guarantee mind you, but it might make finding a place to worship occasionally, easier.

In addition it is wise to check the local listings at to see if any of the eclectic pagan groups in your area are conducting a public Samhain ritual. Please be advised that Life Temple does not condone or endorse these public rituals. Public rituals (especially at Samhain) are more likely to attract the attention of news media and protestors. However if these risks do not bother you, then you may be able to find a celebration of some sort to attend.

Also be prepared to drive a good distance. You may find a gather or group setting 1, 2, or even 3 hours away. This is common and many committed members of our communities travel these lengths monthly to take classes, attend rituals and volunteer at their churches.