Reply To: how to pronounce Samhain?

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum how to pronounce Samhain? Reply To: how to pronounce Samhain?


    In Irish Gaelic it’s more or less “sa’win” or “sown”, depending on the dialect. Scots and Manx Gaelic have slight different pronunciations/variations respectively – Samhainnor and Sauin. I believe the word refers to the Month of November – Mí na Samhna, more or less pronounced “mee na souna”. The night of the 31st is Oíche Shamhna, pronounced “ee howna”.

    There is no Cornish pronunciation in the sense that this is a Gaelic word. The Cornish term is Nos Kalan Gwav. The Irish word is believed to derive from a Celtic root *sam connected to summer. The Cornish word gwav, connected to the Welsh and Breton forms, means winter. It has been said that Samhain was the Celtic New Year, however, I don’t think there’s a lot of evidence to support that. The Welsh word for November is Tachwedd, which means the month of slaughter. October in Welsh is Hydref, the month of the stag call.