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Samhain is also the name of a festival in various currents of Neopaganism inspired by Gaelic tradition. It appears, therefore, that in Proto-Celtic the first month of the summer season was named 'wintry', and the first month of the winter half-year 'summery', possibly by ellipsis, '[month at the end] of summer/winter', so that would be a restitution of the original meaning.This interpretation would either invalidate the 'assembly' explanation given above, or push back the time of the re-interpretation by popular etymology to very early times indeed.
It is still the custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night.
Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together.
Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification.
The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead.
In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the 'festival of the dead' took place on Samhain.For instance, the contemporary calendars produced by the Celtic League begin and end at Samhain.