Samhain dates back to Gaelic Ireland and is attested in some of the earliest Irish literature from the 10th century. It was one of four seasonal festivals, the others being Beltane, Imbolc, and Lughnasadh, and was thought to have been one of the most important festivals of the year. At the start of the celebration at sunset on October 31st, Samhain ceremonies and festivities would begin. People would gather and start bonfires and animals and crops were burned as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. It was a way of giving the Celtic Gods and Goddesses their share of the crops and herds from the previous year. In addition to being used for sacrifice, these fires were considered sacred and served to cleanse the old year and prepare for the new year.
With the rise of Christianity, Halloween was actually thought by many to have been created in an attempt to replace Samhain. Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, is celebrated in much the same way as Samhain with costumes, celebrations, and more. The two holidays, while definitely intertwined when it comes to their history, do differ from one another as Samhain has roots in paganism while Halloween has roots in Christianity. Like killing witches and pagans and druids.