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 known as either Winter Nights or Winterfinding. Some Heathens consider these synonymous, while others, especially those following a Norse tradition (wherein the winter of their cultural ancestors began earlier than it did for the Anglo-Saxons), celebrate Winterfinding (as the last harvest) on the autumn equinox and Winter Nights (as a festival of the ancestors) on the cross-quarter.
Although there is no indication that the Anglo-Saxons also honored their ancestors at this time, most Saxon pagans today celebrate Winterfinding and Winter Nights as a simultaneous harvest and ancestor festival, much like Samhain. Also in common with Samhain is a belief that the veil between the worlds is thin at this time. Some Saxon pagans recognize Winter Nights as a literal multi-night festival, celebrating the secular Halloween on one night, honoring the Ælfar (male ancestors) on another night and the Disir (female ancestors) on yet another.