ADF Dedicant Path: Third High Day Essay (Autumn Cross-Quarter)
The autumn cross-quarter is most commonly celebrated by Neopagans as the Celtic Samhain, both a harvest festival and a time to honor the dead. For the Anglo-Saxons, the cross-quarter signified the start of winter and is variably known today as Winter Nights and Winterfinding. Some Heathens consider these synonymous, while others, especially those following a Norse tradition, celebrate Winterfinding (the last harvest) on the autumn equinox and Winter Nights (festival of the ancestors) on the cross-quarter.
Because winter started later for the Anglo-Saxons than for the Norse, Winterfinding for them landed on the cross-quarter rather than on the equinox. Although there is no indication that the Anglo-Saxons also honored their ancestors at this time, most Saxon pagans today celebrate Winterfinding as a simultaneous harvest and ancestors festival, much like Samhain. Also in common with Samhain is a belief that the veil between the worlds is thin on Winterfinding.