Celebrating the celtic festival of Samhain has always been an important part of the Irish year. In this letter, Carina shares what this time of year means to her.
Céad Míle Fáilte, and you are very welcome to your letter from Ireland. It’s wet and windy here today in County Cork – a perfect day for a chat with an old friend or lunch with family. How are things in your part of the world today?
I’m settling down with a strong cup of Maher’s black coffee as I write – and I do hope you’ll have a cup of whatever you fancy as we start into today’s letter.I thought it would be a good idea to chat with Carina today on the letter. Seeing as we are heading towards the end of October and Halloween, I asked her what this time of the year means to her. This is what she had to say…
For me, this is a special time as we transition into the winter here in Ireland – a time when I am aware of our connections to the past and those who have gone before us. In bygone days, it was a time when people felt closer to their ancestors – and many traditions have grown up around those feelings of closeness, traditions that may have changed down through the years but we still have with us in Ireland today.
My mother passed away on the last day of June – and this week I was thinking of two events that celebrate the closeness we feel to those who pass before us. A closeness that we feel very strongly as we come into this time of year.
Firstly, I was very surprised and touched by the amount of “mass cards” that I received from friends and extended family following my mother’s death. These cards indicated that my mother would be spoken of and remembered in masses around the country. It represented a really powerful feeling of support from family and community. She would not be forgotten.
Secondly, I recently received a letter from one of our readers. They spoke of their first trip to their ancestral county of origin and how strongly they felt connected and drawn to the land where their ancestors once lived. This strength of feeling completely took them by surprise and moved them to tears. They felt that they had “come home”. It turned out that their ancestral place of origin was always remembered somewhere in their consciousness and hearts.
So, as we come into this season of darker days here in Ireland approaching the Celtic festival of Samhain – it seems to me that the feeling of being “in time” starts to recede into the background. I feel closer than ever to my mother, her parents and the many who went generations before. This is our traditional time for connecting to a universal spirit of all that binds us together. We have felt this connection in Ireland for many thousands of years as we celebrate the proximity of our ancestors and the fact that we owe our presence to their hard work, persistence and generosity.
That is what this time of year means to me.
How about you? Is there a special person or ancestor that you would like to feel closer to at this time of year? According to Irish tradition, Samhain is a time of year when the veil of separation lifts and the ties that bind us to those who passed before become stronger. Not a time to feel afraid – but a time to connect with the strength and wisdom of our ancestors and loved ones who have recently passed.
We do look forward to you joining us again next week,
Slán for now, Mike & Carina.
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