Definition of Samhain in US English:



  • The first day of November, celebrated by the ancient Celts as a festival marking the beginning of winter.

    • ‘The Roman's Pomona Day, to the Celtic Festival of Samhain and the Christian holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days have all blended into the present holiday of Halloween.’
    • ‘There are eight major sabbats celebrated in Wicca, the most important of which is Samhain, sometimes referred to as a holiday for the dead, and more commonly known as Halloween.’
    • ‘During the 400 years that they ruled, two Roman festivals were combined with the Celtic celebration of Samhain.’
    • ‘The origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.’
    • ‘Hallowe'en originates from the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain, which marks the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter associated with death and the return of spirits to Earth.’
    • ‘It was formerly the eve of the Celtic festival of Samhain, a name which comes down to us directly from the Gaelic for the end of summer.’
    • ‘There were plenty more people tonight because of the Samhain festivities.’
    • ‘The origins of Halloween date back over 2,000 years to the ancient indigenous Celtic festival of Samhain, the beginning of the Celtic New Year on November 1.’
    • ‘I'm Wiccan, so to me it's Samhain, the Celtic New Year!’
    • ‘During Samhain huge bonfires were lit and burned for a week for two reasons the first was to symbolize the death of summer and the birth of winter and secondly to help guide the dead to higher realms.’
    • ‘Popular belief and practice could therefore persist in, for example, the cult of Bridget and the customs associated with festivals such as Lughnasa and Samhain.’
    • ‘We have travelled from the heart-breaking bleakness of the season of Samhain through the mid-Winter.’
    • ‘We'll be celebrating the harvest and preparing for Samhain.’
    • ‘Originally the Celtic fire festival of Samhain, it celebrated the end of the Celtic year.’
    • ‘The ancient Celts celebrated Samhain (pronounced SUH-win) on Nov.1 as the day the veil between the world of the living and the dead was at its thinnest.’
    • ‘The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain was celebrated in style last week in West Kerry when the Díseart Institute of Education and Celtic Culture held a special event to mark what was once the traditional welcoming of the New Year.’
    • ‘Halloween is known as Samhain to pagans and was the Celtic festival of the dead.’
    • ‘The harvest has been celebrated, Samhain has passed, and now the nights will become shorter and colder.’
    • ‘This day was a day to celebrate the harvest, as well as the holiday of Samhain.’
    • ‘The custom of decorating with apples, pumpkins, cornstalks, and autumn leaves has its origin in an ancient Druid autumn festival called Samhain (pronounced SAH-win).’


Irish, from Old Irish samain.