Samhain is a Gaelic festival of Celtic pagan origins that marks the end of harvest season (Summer) and the beginning of winter, which is celebrated between 31 October and 1 November.
This celebration then developed, merging with the Christian All Saints' Day to become Halloween. The celebratory parts of Samhain which became part of modern Halloween
are carving pumpkins, divination rituals connected to the return of the souls of the dead for one night and dressing in costumes (guising). Guising initially came under the form as dressing as hungry ghosts to go house-to-house asking for food. This, in connection to playing pranks, which was originally to imitate the mischief of malignant spirits developed into what is known in Halloween as Trick or treat
The origin of the word Samhain is not entirely known. However, Samhain is originally believed to derive from the union of the the words sam
, meaning "summer" and fuin
The pronunciation of Samhain varies depending on the Gaelic language it is pronounced in. Samhain is usually pronounced in its Irish version. So the correct pronunciation of Samhain in Irish is Sau-ihn
. The first part, -Sau, is pronounced like the "sow", the female of a pig. The second syllable, -ihn, contains an "i" that is pronounced somewhat midway between an "i" and an "e" sound. It must be noted that there is another sound at the end of the word that is nearly imperceptible, which is a sort of elided "ye" sound, as heard in the audio pronunciation. Adding that sound, the pronunciation of Samhain becomes Sau-ihn(ye)
, where the -ye is basically just the initial pronunciation of the "y". It resembles a shorter "ñ" sound like the word "piñata". So if you pronounce the "n" in -ihn as an "ñ", but stopping midway through it you achieve the proper pronunciation of Samhain in Irish, which would equate to Sau-ihñ