My Samhain went pretty well. One of the highlights was talking on the phone to a friend of mine who moved away a month ago. I spent last Samhain with her and was really starting to miss her as this Samhain approached. Talking on the phone isn't the same as hanging out together and telling stories around the fire, but it was pretty good to see her name on my caller ID and hear her say "Happy Samhain!"
I also figured that Samhain might be a good time to smudge my home. For those who don't know, "smudging" is basically cleansing, purifying, and banishing negative energy. It can be done a variety of ways, and I decided to do it with water. (I'd originally wanted to do it by carrying burning herbs around the house, but I couldn't get the herbs to stay lit. So I improvised.) In the end everyone in my family was also smudged, and I even smudged the cats -- amazingly they didn't object to me sprinkling water on them.
And then the next day at work...
A coworker asked me how my Halloween had gone. At first I was hesitant to mention the spiritual aspect of the day to me, simply because being a minority can be a little tiresome at times since you have to explain yourself to people. But after telling her what I dressed up as and how many trick-or-treaters we got (one group of three kids) I added "And I'm Pagan, so I also celebrate the Pagan roots of Halloween..." Much to my amazement, she responded with "Oh, I should have called my Pagan relatives!" It turns out that she was already familiar with Samhain, and that I didn't need to explain anything about it.
It also turns out that this coworker of mine comes from a country that celebrates October 31st as a day honoring the dead. I don't remember all the details, but she told me a little about how they celebrate the day, which involves visiting grave sites of deceased relatives. It's also a national holiday in her home country, and almost everyone also had Monday off.
It was really nice to talk to her, and hear about how she used to celebrate the day with her family. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of her country...I know it's a small one, though, and its name sounded vaguely familiar to me when she said it.
Last, I want to share this news article. BBC covered the Pagan celebrations going on on the 31st, and then was criticized for "neglecting Christianity." Apparently Christianity is in danger of being "marginalized" by news agencies such as BBC who decide to give air time to people of minority religions. I'm not sure if I should laugh or what. I mean, come on. Christianity is one of the major world religions. I don't think that it's in any danger of being marginalized.