Also known as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve, Halloween, originally Samhain, marked the end of summer and the harvest season in the Gaelic and Brythonic cultures. The festival is recorded in both Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
Some scholars believe that Samhain marked the beginning of the calendar year.
A Brief History of Halloween
Samhain, pronounced “sa-vun,” marked the end of the summer and the season of plenty, and it was celebrated after harvest was done.
• The term Samhain derives from the name of a month in the Celtic Calendar, in particular the first three nights.
• On these three nights, a festival would take place marking the end of summer and the harvest season.
• It came to be traditionally celebrated on 31 October, and the Catholic Church, wanting to get a foothold into the Pagan roots of the festival, made 1 November All Souls’ Day or All Saints’ Day.
Thus, the several different and correct terms for Halloween: Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, or All Saints’ or Souls’ Eve.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, Halloween has become much more of a commercial affair and less of a Pagan celebration, except amongst Neopaganist groups.