Tuesday 31st October traditionally marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the Celtic and Pagan New Year. Samhain is Irish-Gaelic for 'the Summer's end', and is pronounced 'sow-in'. Samhain represents the death of the summer sun god, Lugh. This festival celebrates Nature's cycle of death and renewal. This is traditionally known as Halloween.
Samhain is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals; along with Lughnasadh, Imbolc and Beltane.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Samhain heralds the beginning of Winter when the world starts to darken and the days are getting shorter; the 'dark half' of the year and the demise of the sun's uplifting influence. The crone, personified as Cailleach - the Queen of the Winter - was reborn on every All Hallows Eve, returning to bring the Winter and protect animals through the coldest months. She turned to stone on Beltane Eve, Beltane being 1st May.