The ancient Celts would give their homes a good “fall” cleaning and extinguish their fires during the day on the 31st. This allowed them to start the new year fresh and clean. At sunset, a giant bonfire would be lit and the formal ceremonies would begin. Sacrifices of crops and livestock would be burned for the Celtic deities. The people wore costumes and would dance around the fire, playing out the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
There were three purposes to the costumes. It was believed that souls were set free from the Land of the Dead during the eve of Samhain and the costumes were worn to honour these souls. The costumes also allowed them to hide from the trickery of malevolent spirits. A third reason for the costumes was as an homage to the Celtic deities.
When the celebration was over, each family would take a piece of the sacred bonfire home. Their hearth fires were rekindled using this flame to help protect the home and its occupants during the dark winter months. The families would then place food and drink outside the door, to appease roaming spirits.
The colour orange is simpler to explain. At this time of the year, there's a lot of orange to be seen! The leaves on the trees, many of the gourds in the fall harvest, the flames of the Samhain bonfires. It's a colour of transition, from summer to autumn, from life to death, from light to dark.
Stingy Jack was a miserable old drunk who played tricks on people of any shape or size. One night, Stingy Jack and the Devil enter a pub to have a drink. Jack convinces the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. But instead of using the coin, Jack slipped it into his pocket and next to a silver cross. The cross prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. But Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year. And if Jack should die during that year, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil agreed to these terms.
The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil. This time, the Devil climbed into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved the sign of the cross into the bark so that the Devil could not come down. Once again, Jack struck a bargain with the Devil. He would free the Devil from the tree if he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years. And if Jack died during those years, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil again agreed to these terms.
Not long after this, Jack did indeed die. But because of his trickery, God would not allow him into heaven. Keeping his word not to take his soul, the Devil also would not allow Jack into hell. Instead, the Devil sent Jack out into the darkness of the world between worlds with nothing but a burning piece of coal. Jack placed the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. The Irish began to refer to Jack's ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply as
I hold the Dumb Supper after all other rituals are done. Once we enter the dining area, no one may speak. As each person enters, they take a moment to stop at the spirit chair to show their respect, light the candle that has been placed for their loved one and offer a silent prayer to the dead. The host/ess sits across from the spirit chair, the others sit where they please. Once everyone is seated and the meal is blessed, the host/ess serves, beginning with the spirit setting and then continuing from oldest to youngest and finally themselves. No one eats until all have been served.