• pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic
  • pic

HALLOWEEN IN IRELAND

Halloween (or Samhain in Gaelic) is a genuinely Irish cultural tradition. Its origins date back to the time of the Celtic Druids when winter was a time to be feared. Before the onset of the dark days of winter a huge celebration was held. This was partly to celebrate the end of the harvest season and a last party before the onset of winter’s semi-hibernation. As part of the custom of Halloween, bonfires were lit throughout the land to ward off evil spirits from the supernatural world, which were thought to roam the earth freely on this night. Children disguised with masks & costumes embody these spirits, who ordinary mortals must “appease” with gifts of nuts, apples or sweets when they arrive at the door.

The Brack (a kind of fruit bread) is traditionally baked at Halloween in Ireland to foretell the future of those who eat it. While baking the brack, tradition held that specific ingredients were added as symbols of the future. The pea represented wealth, it was traditionally believed that he who found it would be wealthy. The bean, however, symbolized poverty. The ring in the brack was, and still is, a symbol of marriage. He or she who finds the ring shall be wed within the year.

The use of Jack O'Lanterns as festival lights for Halloween is a custom that has descended from the Irish, who originally used turnips or beets as lanterns.  On Halloween, these lights represented the souls of the dead.  When the Irish emigrated to America, they were unable to find turnips to carve into Jack O'Lanterns and used pumpkins instead which have been an essential part of Halloween celebrations ever since.