As the sacred night of Shadow-Fest, also called Samhain, Halloween, and All Hallows Eve, draws near I find myself being drawn closer to the Mighty Dead and my Ancestors. As the veil grows thinner across the lands, it becomes easier to connect with our beloved who dwell in the Lands of Shades and Shadows. Many Witches and Pagans hold festivities and rituals on this most holy of nights. One such ritual tradition is the sacred dinner called the Dumb Supper.
Once popular in parts of Ireland and Great Britain, the Dumb Supper is a meal eaten in silence with empty chairs and plates of food set at the dinner table for our beloved dead. It is used as a ritual of respectful remembrance and can be a very moving experience. Today, Wiccans and Pagans hold Dumb Suppers as part of their Samhain celebrations, making it a very enchanted evening with their Ancestors. One that they will cherish for years to come.
I prefer to hold my Ancestor Dinner in a different manner. No silence at my dinner table; I want to laugh and cry as I remember my Beloved Dead. I want to hear stories of their antics and reminisce about the “good ole days”. Empty chairs and plates heaping with mouthwatering food are still set at the dinner table. Wine and spiced cider are served and pumpkin pie piled high with whipped topping grace the scared table of the Dinner of the Dead. Merriment is the theme of this feast, though tears of cherished remembrance are welcomed as well. Treasured memories are shared by all and toasts are made to our Beloved Dead as well as the Mighty Dead.
The Dinner of the Dead is a sacred ritual that can and should be held as often as you wish. Our Ancestors and Beloved Dead should be remembered and celebrated more often than just Samhain. This treasured ritual meal can be held at any Holy Day, such as Yule or Ostara. Your Ancestor’s birthday is another day that you can hold dinner party for them. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the fact that you took the time to make the day special for them.
As Samhain nears, may the Blessed Dead be ever near and may we show them the love and compassion we held for them while they were with us in the Land of the Living. May our celebrations on this Holiest of Nights be full of enchanted bliss. And may Hekate, Queen of Shades and Shadows, bless us with Her presence as the Season of the Witch continues…