Family Friendly Samhain Traditions

As some of you know, I am embarking on a new journey-- becoming a mom! Our sweet, little Pumpkin (Spice) is due in April. Friends lovingly refer to Baby Morris as "fire baby" since I am craving all the spicy foods and he/she will be an Aries.



This transition has me thinking about a lot, including how I will teach my wee one about the traditions I believe in and how I may include him/her, my husband, and even my stepsons this year. Before this time, I simply practiced solitary or with a small group of friends, some of whom have children.


As I consider these things, I think about the differences in our tiny family. My husband doesn't have a strict belief structure and lies somewhere between an Atheist and an Agnostic. My stepsons have been taught a myriad of things and are still coming into their own ideas and beliefs. I feel now that I will have my own child, it's a great time to begin new family traditions and mix our family cauldron up.


These past few months I have taken the time to discuss spiritual family traditions with friends who have children and if or how they include them in these yearly celebrations. It also has helped me realize that some of us, whether we are new to the Craft or never had traditions growing up, are still trying to figure out what traditions are family friendly and how can we include our little ones on our sacred journey. After all, each moment is sacred as we create new memories with those that really matter.


 

To give you some background on this holiday, Samhain is an ancient festival where the veil is said to be thinnest. It is normally celebrated on October 31, but is different each year according to astrological correspondences. This day is a time when we can communicate with the deceased and our ancestors easily, we can perform powerful divinations, and we are able to release things from this past year in order to prepare for the new. In the Avalonian tradition, this day is known as Calan Gaeaf. Calan Gaeaf is a Welsh word that means "first winter" and is a time when they believed that the year had ended and winter had begun. This gave that time a real "new year" feeling. During Calan Gaeaf, turnips were used instead of pumpkins to create jack-o'-lanterns. In some traditions, these were made to guide the dead back home while others believed they were used to scare evil spirits away. You can read more about Calan Gaeaf and it's comparison to Samhain in this paper I wrote in 2017.



Samhain is a time when families and communities come together to celebrate ancestors, release the previous year, and celebrate life & death. So what are some ways we can incorporate this tradition in the present with our families?


 

1) Seasonal Crafts


One of the easiest ways to celebrate the season is to create a jack-o'-lantern. If you are celebrating the ancestors and honoring them during this time, consider having the kids name each pumpkin after an ancestor or recently deceased relative. This will instill the magic of guiding those people home.


Younger kids could also complete coloring pages that could be put up around the altar as gifts for the ancestors. Surely, those on the other side would love to receive a sweet drawing or colored page from the youngest child just as much as we do.