The most common uses were to determine the identity of one's future spouse, the location of one's future home, and how many children a person might have.
Seasonal foods such as apples and nuts were often employed in these rituals.
In medieval Ireland, Samhain became the principal festival, celebrated with a great assembly at the royal court in Tara, lasting for three days.
After being ritually started on the Hill of Tlachtga, a bonfire was set alight on the Hill of Tara, which served as a beacon, signaling to people gathered atop hills all across Ireland to light their ritual bonfires.
The word 'bonfire', or 'bonefire' is a direct translation of the Gaelic .
With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires.
Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, and decide which animals would need to be slaughtered in order for the people and livestock to survive the winter.
This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock because it is when meat will keep since the freeze has come and also since summer grass is gone and free foraging is no longer possible.
The seasons are not oriented at the solar year, viz.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.
Thus, while evidence such as folklore and ancient sagas may suggest certain associations with Samhain, these all are observed in a Christian context.