Samhuinn, from 31 October to 2 November was a time of no-time. Celtic society, like all early societies, was highly structured and organised, everyone knew their place. But to allow that order to be psychologically comfortable, the Celts knew that there had to be a time where order and structure were abolished, when chaos could reign. And Samhuinn, was such a time. Time was abolished for the three days of this festival and people did crazy things, men dressed as women and women as men. This happened at Beltane too-Farmers' gates were unhinged and left in ditches, peoples' horses were moved to different fields, and children would knock on neighbors' doors for food and treats in a way that we still find today, in a watered-down way, in the custom of trick-or-treating on Halloween. But behind this apparent lunacy, lay a deeper meaning. The Druids knew that these three days had a special quality about them. The veit between this world and the ancestors was drawn aside on these nights and made in safety to the other side. The Druid rites, therefore, were concerned with making contact with the spirits of the departed, who were seen as sources of guidance and inspiration rather than as sources of dread. The dark moon, the time when no moon can be seen in the sky. was the phase of the moon which ruled this time, because it represents a time in which our mortal sight needs to be obscured in order for us to see into the other worlds. The dead are honored and feasted, not as the dead, but as the living spirits of loved ones and of guardians who hold the root-wisdom of the tribe. With the coming of Christianity, this festival was turned into Halloween 31 October all hallows all saints days 1 November and all souls days 2 November. Here we can see the most chearly, the way in which Christianity built up to the pagan foundation rooted in these isles. Not only does the purpose of the festival matches with the earlier one, but even the unusual length of the festival is the same. This Christian church was unable to get the people to stop celebrating this holiday, so they simply sprinkled a little holy water on it and gave it new names, as they did with other Paleopagan holidays, and customs. This was a form of calendrical imperialism, co-opting Paleopagan sacred times, as they had Paleopagan sacred places most if not of the great cathedrals of Europe were built on top of early Paleopagan shrines and sacred groves. So when fundamentalits come to your local school board and try to get Halloween removed from the public schools because it's a Pagan holiday, they are perfectly correct. Of course, Valentine's Day/Lupercalia, Easter/Eostre, and Christmas/Yule also have many Paleopagan elements associated with their dating and/or symbols, as the Jehovah's witnesses and others have pointed out for decades. So if we decide to rid the public schools of all holiday that have Pagan aspect to them, there won't be many left for the kids to enjoy. I find it amusing that American teens and pre-teens seem to have instinctively expanded their seasonal celebrations to add another night before Halloween, one on which they commit various acts of harmless or unfortunately not vendalism, including pranks on neighbors. If we assume that all Saints Day was moved to co-opt the central day of Samhain which was associated with the God of the Godesses of the Celts, and all Souls Day was supposed to co-opt the workship of the ancestors, then the modern "Cabbage Night","Hell Night" boy does that push the fundamentalits buttons or simply "Mischief Night" which used to be April 30th-the night before May Day-in Germany-there's that Beltane/Samhain connection again would correspond to a celebration of the often mischievous nature spirits. This then nicely covers the Indo-European pattern of the "three kindreds" of Deities, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits.