Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Emerging From the Pandemic: Halloween/Samhain 2021


Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or "darker-half" of the year. In the northern hemisphere it is held on 1 November but with celebrations beginning on the evening of 31 October, since the Celtic day began and ended at sunset.

For the first time in over a week, the sun finally broke through the clouds here in New England. Clean up continued after the Nor'Easter that was classified as a hurricane at times. The Cape Cod Marathon Race Weekend was cancelled and emergency crews worked 24/7 to restore electricity yet there was still a feeling of joy and anticipation for Halloween.

Even before COVID, after our own children were grown, we would always ask the question, "Should we do Halloween this year?" Our neighborhood, as many neighborhoods tend to do, go through cycles of having younger children. We live near a school and families move in with younger children and leave once children are grown making room for younger families to move in again. The group of old homesteaders like Tom and me are rare these days. 

Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays but experiencing it through the eyes of our twins was always a joy. I loved when they did trick or treat for UNICEF. 

This year, at the last minute we decided to have treats on hand and trusted, as Dr. Ingrid Katz noted in a boston.com article that Halloween is really quite a safe holiday.  

We received a last minute invitation from our neighbors to attend an outdoor party with pizza for the kids and 'adult beverages.' We politely declined as Tom and Ruth Anne are training for a marathon and did their long run. Their house abuts our property and the party overflowed into our yard. There were kids in costumes running around, shrieking with delight that they were able to celebrate Halloween this year as adults stood in close proximity to one another without masks socializing enjoying the opportunity to have a party. We sent out positive energy that everyone would remain safe and healthy.

Given the throngs of children and adults that were lining our street, we decided on a contactless Halloween this year. We hung the bag of treats from the railing on our porch and greeted the Trick or Treat'ers through our storm door reminding them to please take only one treat each. We were astounded by the numbers of children and adults out and about. Our treats were gone within an hour. We usually have left overs that we'd bring into work the next day.

This year's Halloween celebration was far more than the hunger for sweets; everyone is hungering for a return to rituals and celebrations without the pandemic. Yet the pandemic still hangs like a scepter over everyone. The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, tested positive for COVID after family members tested positive and reported mild symptoms. She was unable to accompany the President to the G20 summit which is addressing climate change; another crisis happening in the world right now. 

One of my friends posted the above quote and image about Samhain on her timeline. I was unfamiliar with the Samhain tradition. It brought a new light to this time of year; a time when we need to shine our lights more brightly than ever before. It is a time to set aside judging what others are choosing to do and making choices that are right for us. It is time to shine the light on gratitude and blessings. It is a time to go within for contemplation allowing the darkness to surround us but not engulf us and find the gifts in this glorious time of year.

In the Darkness

I wrap myself in a blanket
cozy and warm
sipping hot cocoa
eyes half closed
a time for contemplation.

Overcoming fears and worries
casting a light on all there is to be grateful for
thanksgiving a holiday every day
fasting from fears
feasting on faith.

Out of the darkness of my past
I am transformed
a light bearer
having borne many battles
fighting for my soul.

Stillness and listening
Spirit pierces veil
revealing Truth and Knowledge
every problem solved
embracing beauty of stars
they can only be seen in the darkness.

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,


Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

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