Samhain is pronounced sowen, soween, saw-win, saw-vane or sahven, but not sam-hayne.
Other names for Samhain include Samhuin, Samain, Saman, Oidhche Shamhna, Hallowe’en, Halloween, Hallows, Hallowtide, Shadow Fest, Allantide, Third Harvest, Harvest Home, Geimredh, Day of the Dead (Feile na Marbh), Feast of the Dead, Spirit Night, Candle Night, November Eve, Nutcrack Night, Ancestor Night and Apple Fest, Oíche Shamhna, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallontide, Old Hallomas, Hallowmass, Martinmas, Martinmass, Shadowfest, Nos Calan Gaeaf, and All Soul’s Day.
October 31 is when many pagans and most witches celebrate the Greater Sabbat commonly called Halloween or Samhain (a corruption of ‘Sainfuin- sain meaning summer and fuin meaning ending). It is a cross-quarter day, situated between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice. Astrologically, Samhain marks the rising of the Pleiades. November 1 is the actual date of Samhain but like other Celtic derived festivals, it is celebrated on its eve. November 1 is New Year’s Day for the Celts as it was for the Babylonians.
Another day that is thought to be derived from Samhain is All Soul’s Day. This is actually a Christian holiday that was first celebrated in 993 A.D. Originally the Romans celebrated their Ferralia, in February. They visited the graves of their relatives to offer up prayers and sacrifices were made at bonfires. In trying to convert the ‘heathens” of the time the Church decided to change the date of this festival to November the second and changed its name to All Souls Day.

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