10/31/2007 Halloween Samhain. America's most popular Celtic holiday. The Coligny Calendar calls this the "Three Nights of the End of Summer," a.k.a. the first day of Winter. We also know this as the Celtic New Year. How does all this fit together? The sun points, which we recognize as astronomical season boundaries today, were midpoints to the British Celts. The boundaries were between those, on days we don't recognize, except by tradition, today. Although it has shifted a bit, All Hallows' Day or All Saints Day, stands on a boundary between Summer and Winter, the Light half of the year and the Dark half of the year. Now, a day begins at sunset; the dark half of the day is the first half. A year begins at the beginning of the Dark half -- at least by some accounts -- Celtic traditions varied over time and space. As this was a boundary, it was a "crack in time." Strange things could happen at the start of the New Year, people and things could slip through this crack. The dead could come back to visit! One should set an extra place at the table, because Grandpa just might drop in for dinner! "Trick or Treat" had a more sinister meaning once, for if a visiting soul were not satisfied, it might commit some malicious act before it returned to the other world. One might, for example, wake to find one's cow on the neighbor's property, and since possession is nine points of the law, it would not be our cow anymore. That would not be very pleasant, as one has to get through the Dark half of the year to enjoy the Light half. There are wizards and pirates, cowboys and generals in my family tree. Who will visit on this day?