Samhain (pronounced "sow wain") is the wicca name for what is called in this time Halloween. Samhain is a high sabbat; one of the eight festivals honoring the year cycle. Samhain is the last day of the year cycle. The year god has returned to the lower world to be reborn at Solstice. Its is a time of darkness - the darkness of the womb. Life slows down and things go deep to gestate and reflect.
We honor our ancestors at this time of year. Those who have moved on to the next phase of life which is regeneration and rebirth. This time of year is when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, which means we can connect with those on the other side. We setup ancestor altars with pictures and momentos of our ancestors. We meditate, we converse, we imagine, we celebrate our ancestors. The ritual is solemn, life-affirming, and celebratory.
I honored my doctor who passed on in September. It was like I was back in his office and we were having one of those conversations about my health - and just about everything else in my life. We laughed a lot. I said goodbye to him. It was very comforting. And exactly why I love Samhain.
Just for the record, being solemn lasted about 30 minutes and then we started cackling again.