by R.J. Gillis
Samhain, derived from “summer’s end,” marked the change of seasons in the Gaelic areas of Britain and Ireland. Likely due to the onset of dark and cold, Samhain was associated with the supernatural; it was also a time for divination. Samhain’s importance in the Celtic calendar was reinforced by the imposition upon it of a Christian festival that became primarily one of the dead. Early Christians honored martyrs on the anniversaries of their deaths on All Hallows’ Day (an alternate form of All Saints’ Day) and established a miniseason of observances known in medieval times as Hallowtide.