What is Samhain?:
Samhain is known by most folks as Halloween, but for many modern Pagans it’s considered a Sabbat to honor the ancestors who came before us, marking the dark time of the year. It’s a good time to contactthe spirit world with a seance, because it’s the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.
TO read the rest of this article: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/samhainoctober31/p/Samhain_History.htm
Beltane History – Celebrating May Day
The Fires of Tara:
Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year.
Read the rest of this article at : http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/beltanemayday/p/Beltane_History.htm
No matter which pronunciation you choose to use just remember it is not an American word so not pronounced Sam-hain.
These are the recommended types of wood to use in a Beltane fire by many people and websites. I do not have access to all nine so I use whatever ones from this list I can find. I figure it is my celebration and ritual so I can use what I want not necessarily what someone else recommends.