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1. An ancient Celtic feast celebrating the end of harvest and the beginning of winter, marked by bonfires and sacrifices and by the propitiation of gods who were believed to become visible and play tricks on their worshipers.
2. The period during which this feast was held, usually the evening of October 31 and the day of November 1.

[Irish Samhain, from Old Irish samain; see sem- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈsɑːwɪn; ˈsaʊeɪn; ˈsaʊɪn)
(Other Non-Christian Religions) an ancient Celtic festival held on Nov 1 to mark the beginning of winter and the beginning of a new year. It is also celebrated by modern pagans
[from Irish, from Old Irish samain]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
Ellen Evert Hopman; THE SACRED HERBS OF SAMHAIN; Destiny Books (Nonfiction: Body, Mind & Spirit) 18.99 ISBN: 9781620558614
Twitter user Count Dankula countered that Cho had previously reported on how "Taiwan does Halloween the best," despite the fact that its origin lies in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain:
Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day, apparently comes from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits.
Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival Samhain, the feast of the Lord of the Dead.
The exact history of Halloween remains disputed, but it is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (Samhain was the Druidic lord of death).
Hundreds of years ago, Halloween was not observed, and instead, Samhain, a pagan festival was celebrated.
The timing of the celebration reflects its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when ghosts of the dead were believed to return and walk the Earth at the end of the harvest and on the cusp of winter, as the History Channel explains.
The origin of Halloween lies in an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced as "sow-in") in Britain, celebrated to mark the end of fall and the start of winter.
He explained Scotland was the home of Hallowe'en - or Samhain as it was originally known.The celebration of all things spooky originates from the ancient Celts' celebrations and is based on their'Feast of Samhain'.The eve became known as All Saints'Eve, All Hallows'Eve, or Hallowe'en.
Highlights include Awakening the Walls, Haunted Harvest Market, Museum of the Moon, Little Horrors shows and entertainment, Monster Fun Fair, Samhain Sessions, Tours & Trails, Carnival Parade, Fireworks plus lots more.