More about Samhain
Samhain, “an ancient Celtic winter festival,” is a borrowing from Irish Gaelic. In Irish Gaelic, the consonant pair mh is often pronounced as “oo” or “wuh,” which is why the standard English pronunciation of Samhain is “sah-win”—and, unlike what certain supernatural-themed TV series have claimed, is not “sam-heyn.” Samhain comes from Old Irish samain, which some linguists have proposed is a distant relative of English summer. Though it may be folk etymology, a similar proposal is that samain comprises Old Irish sam, “summer” (compare modern Irish Gaelic samhradh), and perhaps fuin, “setting, end.” Perhaps instead of a summery connection, samain comes from a root meaning “together” or, by extension, “assembly, gathering.” Samhain was first recorded in English in the late 1880s.
EXAMPLE OF SAMHAIN USED IN A SENTENCE
As the nights grew longer and chillier in Ireland, though snow had yet to fall, the winter festival Samhain was fast approaching.