Oíche Shamhna

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Tá Oíche Shamhna ag druidim linn. Sílim go raibh an Chailleach ina codladh i mbliana: bhí Daidí na Nollag sna siopaí i bhfad roimpi. (An bhfaca duine ar bith uibheacha na Cásca sna siopaí go fóill?)

Tá stair an-suimiúil ag an fhéile.Téann sí i bhfad níos faide siar ná an Chríostaíocht. Ceann d’fhéilte móra na gCeilteach a bhí ann, ach rinneadh ceangal idir Oíche Shamhna agus an Chríostaíocht. Rinneadh Féile na Naomh Uile den chéad lá de mhí na Samhna, agus Féile na Marbh den dara lá.

Pointe idir dhá shéasúr atá ann. Tá an samhradh ar shiúl: titeann na duilleoga, faigheann na bláthanna bás, imíonn na héin, éiríonn sé fuar agus dorcha. I bhféilire na gCeilteach, chuir an féasta Bealtaine tús leis an samhradh; chuir Samhain deireadh leis.

Tá a lán nósanna de chuid na gCeilteach le sonrú san fhéile go fóill. Thug na Ceiltigh onóir do na mairbh ar an lá sin: tá Féile na Marbh againn anois, díreach i ndiaidh Féile na Naomh. Bhí tinte cnámh ag na Ceilteach: dhóigh siad cnámha na n-ainmhithe a mharaigh siad don fhéasta. Fadó, chuir na páistí éadaí aisteacha orthu agus lig siad orthu gur tháinig siad ón domhan eile. Shíl na Ceiltigh go raibh draíocht ag na húlla Imríonn páistí cluichí le húlla Oíche Shamhna go fóill: mar shampla, cuirtear úlla i mbáisín uisce agus téann na páistí ag tumadh dóibh. Chuaigh páistí ó dhoras go doras ag bailiú bia le hofráil do na spioraid nó do na síoga: tá an nós ‘bob nó bia’ againn anois.

Tá a lán eolais ar Oíche Shamhna ar an Idirlíon. Gúgáil ‘féilte bliantúla’. Tá ábhar ar scoilnet.ie chomh maith le mórán ábhar oideachasúil eile.

Smaoineamh fánach : - Rún díospóireachta: An bhfuil féilte móra na Críostaíochta ag éirí págánta arís? Smaoineamh eile: an bhfuilimid uilig ag éirí págánta?

Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en is approaching. I think the witch was sleeping this year: Santa was in the shops before her. (Has anyone seen Easter eggs in the shops yet?)

The feast has a very interesting history. It goes further back than Christianity. It was one of the great Celtic feasts, but ‘the night of Samhain’ was incorporated into Christianity. The first day of November became All Saints and the second of November became the Feast of All Souls.

It is a meeting point of two seasons. Summer has gone: the leaves fall, the flowers die, the birds fly off, it becomes cold and dark. On the Celtic calendar, the feast of Bealtaine marks the beginning of summer and Samhain marks the end.

Many Celtic customs are to be observed in the festival still. The Celts honoured the dead on that day: we now have ‘the Feast of the Dead’ immediately after All Saints. The Celts had bonfires (‘bone fires’): they burned the bones of the animals which they killed for the feast.

Long ago, children put on strange clothes and pretended that they had come from the other world. The Celts thought that apples had magic powers. Children still play games with apples on Hallowe’en: for instance, apples are put in a basin of water and children duck for them. Children went from door to door, gathering food for the sprits or the fairies: we now have ‘Trick or Treat’.

There is a lot of information about Hallowe’en on the Internet. Google ‘féilte bliantúla’. There is material on scoilnet.ie, along with other educational material.

A stray thought:- A debating point: Have the great Christian feasts become pagan again? Another thought: Are we all becoming pagan?