Unlike my blog before that discuss about Saint Patricks Day in the Republic of Ireland. My blog today is about ‘HALLOWEEN’. Like other countries that celebrated halloween. Ireland also has tradition to celabrate halloween.
Halloween is a holiday celebrated on October 31 each year. The origin of Halloween lies in the Celt’s Autumn festival which was held on the first day of the 11th month, the month known as November in English but as ‘Samhain’ in Irish. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Irish celebrated Halloween as Samhain, ‘All Hallowtide’ – the ‘Feast of the Dead’. This celebration marked as the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months.
Halloween in Ireland has been celebrated for centuries and first originated from the festival of Samhain which dates back over 2,000 years. Halloween or Irish called Samhain is an important festival in Ireland, it marked the end of the bright half of the year and the start of the dark half. It was also a time to honor the dead and gods by using pagan rituals. It is also a modern day adaptation of the ancient pagan tradition of Samhain which was mid-winter in celtic Ireland.
Halloween provides thrills and scares across the world, As Christianity spread across Europe, including Ireland, pagan rituals of Samhain died over time. In its place, Halloween became the main festivity although some of the traditions of Samhain remained.
Today Halloween is a holiday devoted to fun and pranks, feasting and dressing up and of course trick or treating. It is not unusual to see houses in Ireland decked out in all manner of decorations from ghosts and witches to Vampires and Banshees. Not only that, a growing trend here in Ireland is to have a Halloween tree, unlike a Christmas tree but it is black and has all types of Halloween creepy crawlies attached to it.
According to a USA Today poll in 2015, The city of Derry has become the best place to visit for Halloween. Its a long tradition of Derry to celebrate Halloween with thousands taking to the streets to celebrate one night of being in fancy dress. The city boasts a major festival every year including parades, fireworks, and other Halloween festivities. Other cities around Ireland are also following with celebrating Halloween holding large parades and events for families.
Irish has many traditions that they will do when Halloween. So they are:
1. Trick or Treat Tradition
The custom of ‘trick or treat’ was founded in Ireland when children and the poor went from door to door at Halloween. They dress up in scary customes to ward off spirits and visit the homes of villagers from door to door. They sang songs or yelling ‘Help the Halloween Party’ or ‘Trick or Treat’ and collecting goodies and offered prayers for the soul of the dead in return for food, usually a soul cake which was a flattened bread that contained fruit. This tradition was known as ‘Souling’. Moreover, Offerings would be made at the foot of the Tlachtga bonfire and the tradition of lighting great bonfires on Halloween and continues until now.
2. Halloween Costume
Why do people wear fancy dress on Halloween? The custom of dressing up in costume comes from an old Celtic tradition when people used to dress in costumes that resembled evil spirits in order to placate them. The tradition of wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. On the special night, they would dress up in elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising, Irish hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for the halloween costumes.
3. Jack-O-Lantern, The Pumpkin
Carving Pumpkins back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out. This tradition was taken to America along with the Irish immigrants. carved out of a Pumpkin known as Jack of the Lantern or Jack-O-Lantern.
From the halloween traditions that I have explained above, there are more Irish traditions in halloween celebration that will explain on my next blog. Do you want to know the other halloween traditions?