This ancient fire festival, held when the harvesting season has ended, celebrates the end of summer. As the world turns toward the dark half of the year, the Unseelie begin their journey inward, entering the realms of shadow and nightmare in search of knowledge and enlightenment. On this night, the Mists part, allowing Kithain a glimpse into the otherworlds.
The counterpart to Beltaine, Samhain is the other Great Festival of the Fae. On Samhain Eve the wall between worlds grows thin. It is a solemn time for the kithain, a time to strain against the Mists, part them, and remember fallen comrades. It is a night to honor those who have been lost as well as mortals who have contributed Glamour to the world.
Samhain also serves as an ideal time for divination and in many courts the seers and soothsayers perform their auguries to discover the fates of lost friends and hints for the coming year.
Before the Shattering, Samhain marked the beginning of the time of Unseelie rule. This transfer of power only rests in the form of the "Shadow Court's" one night reign. The Unseelie are given a chance to deride everything they hate in Seelie society. They hold mock tournaments and courts to make fun of the monarchy and privy council. Seelie fae are encouraged to adopt their Unseelie legacy for the night and experience their other side.
Childlings often join human children in trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods, gathering Glamour from the real and imagined scariness of the night and the joy of their mortal comrades.
Shadow Court Interpretation
It is believed that the worlds are mirror images, that while it is dark in this world, it is light in the other. Winter here is echoed by a summertime in the otherworld. Thus, the Unseelie rule during the darkness of this world, but during the enlightened time of the otherworld. This belief shapes the Shadow Court’s claim that they should rule unopposed, as the Seelie did for 600 years. They believe that Arcadia has nearly fallen, not due to Banality, but because Seelie rule has brought centuries of darkness for Arcadia, a time during which no fae has sought new revelations or grown in understanding. They believe that if the Unseelie rule and the darkness of Endless Winter comes upon the world, Arcadia will enter a glorious new era of enlightenment, Endless Summer.
Samhain serves as an in-between time for both beginning and ending. It is a period of purification, a time when the king (who represents both the land and the people) is sacrificed or overthrown. A fool or a new king (an Unseelie king) is set in the old king’s place to symbolize both the ending of the old path and the beginning of a new journey.