Samhain is a Gaelic festival that marks the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. It begins on the evening of October 31 and ends the evening of November 1. It is widely observed in Ireland and Scotland but has now spread an includes neopagans and wiccans. Samhain originated as far back as the 9th century.
Samhain celebrations include lighting of bonfires, feasting and divination. Ancestors are honored more prominently during this holiday as well.
Samhain and Halloween are close in timing but are two very different celebrations. Halloween is always on October 31 whereas Samhain is the middle date between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. The thread which has run continually through both Samhain and Halloween is a connection to the dead and the supernatural. That connection was thought to be made possible by the thinning of the veil between worlds, which was at its thinnest at Samhain.
Samhain is pronounced a few different ways. Let us know how you say it in the comments 😉