The ancestors are close, the space between worlds is easier to cross not only for the ancestors who had messages or words of advices, but for the "sidhe", the fairy fold who might have other things on their minds. It was also possible for living to cross into their world. Places are still set at the table for those who had died recently, they were also memorialised at the bonfire. In more recent times turnips were carved into lanterns to frighten away mischievous or fairyfolk and to guide the way for the ones with good intentions. Pooka, a dark, usually black stallion with glowing red eyes, wandered the land foretelling future events. Costumes were worn to fool anything with wicked intent, especially avenging ancestors. A costume could be a disguise or it could be an expression of what one hoped would happen in the coming year, dressing as a wealthy person in hopes of attracting wealth.
In this night, this ancient night , all of the hearthfires and other fire were extinguished, a bonfire was then lit. The word bonfire is believed to to be derived from bone fire, because it was believed that animal bones were burnt in this fire. Objects, or offerings were also thrown into the fire, perhaps with the making of a wish. And the hearthfires were rekindled from the bonfire. The ashes of the bonfire were spread across the fields. Simply and so very elegantly honoring the bounty of summer, while rendering the bones, which might attract scavengers, into ashes and spreading the fields with those ashes, thus uniting with and honoring the new and the old.
What has just past was warm and safe, what lies ahead is unknown, is dark, filled with dangers real and imagined. The days grow shorter and colder, and the stillness deeper. The wheel turns. Our lives turn. The heavens spiral and the light returns.
Great Joy in the New!