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Traditional Irish Halloween Celebrations - Blog Post

Courtesy – http://ooiguanyi.blogspot.com

Halloween was originated in Ireland around 100 AD which was then known as “Samhain” which means the end of summer and huge bonfires were lit to drive away the evil spirits. Back then people believed that the dead spirits revisit this world on the eve of Halloween, so people used to burn huge bonfires to keep the evil spirits away. Even in the present day Ireland it is celebrated on 31st October and is a popular festival of the region.

Jack O Lantern is one of the oldest traditional pumpkin decoration that is the highlight of the festival. It is made by removing the top and the stem of the pumpkin and carved out a scary face shape on it. The shell is then lit up by placing a candle inside. The traditional food at the Halloween is the ‘Barnbrack’. It is fruit bread baked with things like ring, rag, coin and thimble inside. The family members then share the bread and each item signifies different things in life. Like if you get coins then you will be rich, rag represents poor, thimble means you will not marry and ring means happiness and romance.

The tradition of Halloween Bonfire has been followed since the origin of this festival. Huge fires are lit to help the spirits find their way. It is also believed that if you drop a strand of your hair into the flames, dreaming of your would be spouse, your dreams will come true. The bonfires are made of all types of materials and take days of preparation.

Though fireworks are banned and illegal in Ireland, but still in bigger cities you will find that people buy fireworks online. If the required permissions are not taken then there are severe penalties for using fireworks. People decorate their homes with witches, goblins, ghouls, ghosts and harvest displays.

There are various games associated with the Halloween; one of them is ‘Snap Apple’. Apples have been the traditional fruit of the Halloween. The children are blindfolded and an apple is hung from the ceiling. The first child who takes the bite of the apple wins. Another game involves the custom of peeling an apple in one long strip. The peel is then thrown over the left shoulder and the letter it resembles is the first letter of your future spouse’s name. During earlier times, poor people would go to the houses of rich and ask for money and food. They would use this money and food to celebrate the Halloween. Nowadays, children dressed in scary costumes go tricking and treating the houses. They return home with a bag full of goods that are used for their Halloween party.

Maria Ereku

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