MANY PAGANS CELEBRATE modern Samhain on October 31, the same day as Halloween. Some, however, prefer to perform their observances on the full moon closest to the sabbat date. Others consult almanacs to determine the official astrological cross-quarter day.
Often it is a quiet, solemn occasion in private Pagan households. Many see it as the most important ritual of the year. Families with small children will often negotiate a compromise to let their children enjoy the costumes, pageantry, and candy while also honouring their own traditions.
Modern Themes and Common Elements
While Halloween has become almost entirely secular, Samhain has retained much of its spiritual flavour. It is still a day to honour the dead and to think about death along with other things that we fear. It is still a time to meditate and reflect, and people still perform divinations, enjoy feasts, and sometimes light bonfires during this holiday. While All Souls’ Day has also changed in character over the centuries, the Pagan Samhain actually aligns with the Christian holiday in terms of spiritual intent.