The traditions of Irish Halloween have Celtic roots, and celebrating this holiday the Irish way is a great way to express your Irish side!
To understand this celebration from an Irish perspective, we have to go back in time, literally thousands of years, to a Celtic feast of the dead called Samhain.
"Feast of the Dead?" Seriously? We'll come back to that.
This festival also marked the beginning of the new year a long, long time ago, in a land that is now called Ireland.
So there you go, right off the bat ... a couple of bits of trivia to share at your next Irish party. Want more? Read on!
Halloween was originally intended to mark the end of summer, since the pagans worshiped the solar and lunar cycles.
It was believed that the end of summer made it possible for spirits to pass over from beyond on that day.
As a result, the pagan Irish would wear costumes to disguise themselves, so that evil spirits could not harm them during Samhain.
Bonfires were lit around the area to guide friendly spirits, as it was believed that the fire could help them return to their resting places.
The Celts were terrified of the end of summer and did everything in their power to make this day easier.
Many present-day traditions have developed from these ancient rituals, making them particularly fascinating for those with an interest in Irish culture.
Costumes were worn during this time in an attempt to both trick the evil spirits that had crossed over and to scare or intimidate the townspeople.
The purpose of the intimidation was because the group of men who wore the costumes were asking for food from the houses that they visited.
Some believe that the intimidation was done in jest, much like it is today.
The door-to-door procession was always led by a man dressed as a white mare. Each man would also carry a hollowed out turnip with a candle in it, which might have been the origin of the jack-o-lantern.
The men would also sometimes wear animal hides as part of their costumes.
Here are some fun words about Halloween. Are they really Irish? Don't know. But one of them is a limerick, so - that's close enough!
Our visitors who are parents will appreciate this proverb...
Children have the devil in their bellies at Halloween.
Of course with modern children, we may be able to attribute their behavior to sugar in their bellies, rather than the devil. Just saying.
And here is the aforementioned limerick, highlighting the spookiness of Halloween:
Old McGhee of 1835
Went fishing but didn't survive
When out at the dock
He fell on a rock
On Halloween his ghost is alive!
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