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Samhain’s origins are lost in pre-history but the rituals remain alive and well across Europe; the dead were not to be forgotten or denied their place among the living. This is a time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest; spirits could walk freely on earth and interact with people again. As such, it is a celebration of life and death. A time to honor ancestors and welcome those who have passed to the Otherworld.
For children especially, this is an opportunity to explore these concepts. Death does not have to be feared. You can teach your children early about the cycles of life and that it is natural, healthy, and beautiful. Here are a few ways to teach kids about Samhain.
1) Talk About All the Seasons With Your Child
As the seasons change in autumn and winter, talk with your child about the changes in nature. Ask them how they feel about each season and what makes each one unique.
Then explain how we all go through these same changes during our lives. We grow older, our likes and dislikes change, and we shed old habits and pieces of ourselves to be reborn even as we live.
This is a good opportunity to start the conversation on how destruction is how most creation is born. You can ease your child’s anxiety about change for their whole life if you can manage to discuss death and rebirth in a positive but realistic way. If we fear change, then that’s all we will know until our final day comes. Teach your children to embrace change and to accept that everything has its own cycle and purpose.
2) Help Them Build Their Own Ancestor Shrine
Help your child build their very own ancestor shrine to honor those they loved and lost. It’s a simple way to bring family together by celebrating life and honoring the dead.
The goal is to create something unique that your child can look at with love and respect daily. This is something they will have forever and pass down from generation to generation, so take your time and make sure it is meaningful to both you and them.
3) Go Outside and See How the Seasons Have Changed
Take a trip outside and walk around with your child. Tell them about all the changes they can see happening in nature. Then ask them to think about what the season means.
Ask your child to draw their favorite thing about this season. Then ask them to explain why it means so much to them. Explain the significance of Samhain as a transition from autumn into winter. This is a good time to explain the circle of life, death, and rebirth.
4) Celebrate with an Ancestral Feast
Have your child help you set the table and invite ghosts to feast with you. Empty plates, offerings to the dead, and photos of your loved ones can join in your spirit meals while the veil between our world and the other side is thin.
This is an important part of Samhain. The holiday honors the dead but doesn’t focus solely on death. We must not forget about the living. This is a day where everyone comes together as a family. It’s a time for celebration of the life of those we’ve lost and the life of the one still among us.
5) Teach Your Child About The Underworld
Children are often afraid of death and the unknown. If you can help them understand this cycle, and even talk about what happens after death, then they can have an easier time accepting it as normal and natural.
If you feel comfortable, share your own beliefs about Samhain and how the living world and underworld can be connected. This will show your child that death isn’t scary or evil but rather a gateway to something better and new.
These are five simple ways to help children learn about Samhain. The holiday has deep roots in religion but also in culture and tradition.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to get together and celebrate what life truly means. Help your child enjoy these rituals and traditions by being a positive example yourself!
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