Is Halloween an American or Irish holiday? Between the last day of the harvest and the first day of winter,  Celtic cultures believed the veil between the spirit world and our world was at its thinnest. In particular, the Irish Catholic populations in Maryland and other southern colonies continued their Samhain traditions. 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. Samhain ( pronounced /sow-ween/ in Irish) is the final fire festival of the Celtic year. Halloween has become a children’s favourite because of the opportunity to dress up, play games with friends and get free sweets and candies. The one thing that remains consistent across … The Jack-O-Lantern today is usually carved out of a Pumpkin; this has been passed over from America but in days long ago the Irish would have used a vegetable typically a turnip or swede as these would have been widely available and this tradition was taken to America along with the Irish immigrants. To find the origin of Halloween, you have to look to the festival of Samhain in Ireland's Celtic past. These customs carry on to-day and these foods are still typically eaten although the not eating of meat is no longer observed and Irish Stew is a common dish to feast on before heading out into the cold to watch the fireworks and go trick or treating. For CRs, it is a time when the dead are especially honoured. A Holiday that Ireland gave to America. traditions Here are some other old fashioned Halloween traditions from Scotland that you might want to incorporate into your own festivities this year: Fires and ‘neeps lanterns’ – To ward off potentially malevolent entities, large bonfires were lit in communities and it is believed that this practice survives today in the tradition of carving pumpkin lanterns with creepy grimaces. It wasn't that long ago that every park was filled with more sunglasses than people and more unnecessarily exposed bellies than an hour-long loop of Chunk from The Goonies doing the 'Truffle Shuffle'. As Christianity spread across Europe, including Ireland, pagan rituals of Samhain died over time. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. Sometimes this meant the spirits of ancestors past, and sometimes this meant fairies intending to steal people away, back to their world. Without using their hands, players have to grab an apple floating in a basin of water. Eight Irish Dishes Perfect for Thanksgiving, Bloomsday – Celebrating James Joyce in Dublin. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November, as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. RELATED: 10 Places All Halloween-Lovers Have To See. The night before All Hallows Day combined with Samhain, and became All Hallows’ Eve, or Hallow’een. These traditions relate to the use of masks, carving vegetables (gourds), and other celebrations of the fall harvest. After the festivities, Irish families would go home with a flame from the great bonfire and relight their hearths. This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. This meant that Otherworld spirits & fairies  ( the Aos Sí) were able to cross over the barrier and visit people. By Eileen Houlihan. Today, we continue the ancient practice of disguising ourselves and going door to door for food with trick or treating. BY: Harry Brent September 30, 2019. shares 300. Over 2,000 years ago in Ireland, there were four fire festivals to mark the turning of the seasons, Samhain being important as it was the start of the dark half. Your email address will not be published. Samhain is actually quite a beautiful festival that connects us with those we love that have died and celebrates the harvest and end of summer. Samhain is traditionally celebrated at sunset on October 31st and lasts until sunrise on November first. Robert Burns, Scotland’s greatest bard, wrote extensively of how ancient beliefs had survived well into the Christian era, as he twisted stories of witchcraft and the devil with the traditions kept alive during Hallowe’en. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Two hills in the Boyne Valley were associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, Tlachtga and Tara. Many modern Halloween activities are rooted in old traditions. Halloween is traditional thought of as an American holiday for children, but it originated from Celtic traditions in Ireland revolving around the … In order to confuse the fairies on the hunt (The Fairy Host), people would dress up as animals or monsters (‘mumming’ or ‘guising’). It is considered a kids festival but the original halloween involved the whole community. Being the end of the harvest, Samhain meant it was time to collect food for the winter. Skilled frontman, Neil Hannon, indisputable talent for writing, arcane and witty personality, and his…, COPYRIGHT 2019 YourIrish.com | Made in Ireland. The hill was named after a powerful druidess called Tlachtga who died giving birth to triplets, she was the daughter of Mug Ruith the druid. Why We Celebrate Halloween: A Short History: Seeking the hidden roots and symbols of a Celtic harvest festival in the modern day fun (Origins of Modern Festivals for Kids Book 1) (English Edition) Samhain Traditions: 13 Simple & Affordable Halloween Spells & Rituals for the Witches’ New Year (English Edition) Halloween Info halloween, halloween recipe, halloween videos, halloween … On the special night when the living and the dead were at their closest the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate … Firstly, it was an important fire festival, celebrated over the evening of 31 October and throughout the following day. Our celebration of Halloween is closely related to many of the Celtic Samhain traditions from medieval Ireland and Scotland. The name Lambswool is believed to be a corruption of the Irish Gaelic, “La Mas Nbhal” meaning ‘Feast of the Apples’, it was pronounced “Lammas-ool” and this eventually evolved into Lambswool. Celtic Origins & Traditions. Despite what many people believe it was not about devil worship or evil. Halloween in Ireland has been celebrated for centuries and first originated from the festival of Samhain which dates back over 2,000  years. Its a long tradition of Derry to celebrate Halloween with thousands taking to the streets to celebrate one night of being in fancy dress. Leaving small food offerings outside your door appeased visiting spirits. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins. The Divine Comedy is one of Ireland’s most respected indie-pop bands. The various traditions and ceremonies from Samhain came from Celtic beliefs. Many of these dishes would contain a coin as a ‘lucks penny’ which the finder kept safe and fortune would follow them in the coming year. The Celts celebrated what they perceived as the New Year at the end of the summer and harvest season, every first of November, with a festival known as Samhain, which translates to “summer’s end.” The Celts were mostly farming and agricultural people and the Pre-Christian Celtic year was structured based on the growing seasons. An ancient Celtic tradition, this game remains a firm favourite at Halloween parties. Other cities around Ireland are also following with celebrating Halloween holding large parades and events for families. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. For example, pumpkin carving began in America but has Celtic roots. Why do people wear fancy dress on Halloween? Today Halloween is a holiday devoted to fun and pranks, feasting and dressing up and of course trick or treating. Dunking tactics include spearing apples with a fork held between the teeth or, for those with strong gnashers, a big decisive bite. Halloween has its roots in Samhain, but they are not the same thing. The beginning of Samhain was marked by the Great Fire Festival at the hill of Tlachtga (Hill of Ward). This tradition was known as ‘Souling’. Halloween dates back to Ancient Celtic times, some 2,000 years ago. Site Designed by. This was thought to bring good fortune during the long dark winters. These fires also discouraged the Aos SÍ who were out on the hunt. The traditions that we use to celebrate Halloween today began thousands of years ago with this ancient Irish high holiday. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months. Serena is a cat lover and writer, in that order. Sugar is then added according to taste. Although in Ireland, Halloween used to be a time of abstinence when no meat was eaten so foods that were typically eaten would have been homemade Apple Pies and of course Toffee Apples but first you would have Colcannon, Potato Farls and not forgetting Barmbrack which is a bread that contains fruit, a slice of which has to be left outside before you go to bed so that any passing Faeries or Spirits may feast as well and bestow good luck upon your household. While some countries don’t recognize Halloween at all, others celebrate in a variety of different ways. Samhain in Ireland was an important festival, it marked the end of the bright half of the year and the start of the dark half. Required fields are marked *, ©Copyright 2019, Irish Traditions. ­M­os­t of the traditions of Halloween date back to Samhain (sow-en), the ancient Celtic New Year. What’s your favorite part of Samhain? Until 2,000 years ago, the Celts lived across the lands we now know as Britain, Ireland and northern France. The flames of old fires had to be extinguished and ceremonially re-lit by druids. Samhain was considered the Celtic New Year, celebrating the ending of the … The Irish … Samhain, which translates to "end of summer," occurred around the end of October, when the weather started to get cold. Halloween Costumes: On Halloween night children would dress up in scary costumes and go house to house. Leaders of local septs were expected to visit their regional Irish king. They sang songs or offered prayers for the soul of the dead in return for food, usually a soul cake which was a flattened bread that contained fruit. Many years later Jack dies and because he was lazy and no good during his life he is refused entry to Heaven so he turns to the Devil who will not back down on his promise and refuses to take his soul distraught Jack cries out that he has no light to see his way through the darkness of eternity and laughing the Devil throws him a flame that has come directly from Hell and will never extinguish so Jack is forced to carve a lantern out of a turnip that he may find his way as he wanders the Earth for all Eternity, he became known as Jack of the Lantern or Jack-O-Lantern. The evening before All Saints Day was known as All Hallows Eve, which we now call Halloween. These pagan rights were cooped by the early Catholic clerics in these countries, and they have more recently been restored as part of … This tradition was known as ‘Souling’. For a good performance, neighbors gave food and little cakes. Halloween was said to have originated among the ancient Celtic people who referred to it as “Samhain.” To the Celts, Samhain represented the end of the agricultural cycle, the beginning of the winter months, and the day on which souls that had died the previous year traveled to the other side. It also marks the beginning of winter also known as the “darker half” of the year because the days get dramatically shorter. At Halloween when the veil between the living and the dead is at it thinnest men would have dressed in white and blackened their faces to resemble the dead to acknowledge them and so appease them that they might not visit the homes of the living or if you were to meet a spirit on your travels they would accept you as one of their own and not be tempted to carry you away in the morning. The holiday has always celebrated the strange and scary, but festivities as … As Christianity began to spread in Ireland, the leaders of the young Christian church hoped to guide their flock away from pagan rites. Irish immigrants brought their Halloween traditions with them to the new world. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Each family would let the fire in their hearth burn out, in order to relight it for the winter with a part of the big ceremonial bonfire. Your email address will not be published. So, in the 4th century, Pope Gregory declared May 1st as All Saints Day, followed by All Souls’ Day, as a way to honor the dead. They’d retell the adventures of Nuada, or tell of Finn Mac Cumhail and how he defeated Ailleen. Celtic Halloween called Samhain in Gaelic is a traditional Celtic festival marking the end of the harvest season. 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