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The word 'bonfire', or 'bonefire' is a direct translation of the Gaelic .

With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires.

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.

The Coligny calendar marks the mid-summer moon (see Lughnasadh), but omits the mid-winter one.

The seasons are not oriented at the solar year, viz.

Thus, while evidence such as folklore and ancient sagas may suggest certain associations with Samhain, these all are observed in a Christian context.

There is absolutely no evidence as to whether and how this time might have been observed in any pre-Christian culture.

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.

In the pre-Christian Gaelic world, cattle were the primary unit of currency and the center of agricultural and pastoral life.

Samhain was the traditional time for slaughter, for preparing stores of meat and grain to last through the coming winter.

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.

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