Samhain was the last big rural festival in the Celtic year. It marked the end of harvest and thus the end of the annual farming cycle. It was celebrated on 31st October, better known today as Halloween. For the Celts, this was a very spiritual time of the year as it was believed that the spirits of the ‘other world’ became visible and could influence the ‘human world’. Samhain was also a time when superstitions were high and precautions were made for the return of dead souls.
By Samhain, all crops should traditionally be harvested and stored safely for the winter. No fruits were picked after Samhain as it was believed that the pooka (ghost) tainted the remaining berries by travelling through the countryside, spitting on them.
Samhain was celebrated with great feasts from the produce of the harvest. Barmbrack is a traditional food of the season, however apple or fruit pies and bread made from freshly ground corn were favourites of the season also.
Samhain has made a transition into the Catholic calendar as All Saints' Day.