Read about the origin, history and celebration of Halloween (Samhain) in Ireland.
Fundoo Times: Festivals: Halloween: Halloween in Ireland

Halloween in Ireland

Origin and History of Halloween in Ireland

Halloween is a festival celebrated on the evening before All Souls’ Day. It is a celebration to honor the dead ancestors and bring peace and make way for the winter. It originated in Ireland. Halloween, also known as Samhain in Ireland was initially celebrated by the Celts, at the end of summer season. It is believed that when the departed souls revisited the mortal world traditional bonfires were lit to ward off evil spirits. Such practices continued to flourish along with the old pagan rites after Christianity descended during the sixth century.

Local name: Samhain

Ways to celeberate Samhain in Ireland

Halloween is celebrated with great exuberance in Ireland. The festivity extends up to a week. All the schools in Ireland will be closed for the Halloween break after mid-term exams. People prepare ‘soul cakes’ made from bread and currants and distribute them to beggars and thus offer prayers to dead relatives for an easy passage to heaven. People in Ireland dress up as weird creatures like ghosts, demons, witches, zombies, hobgoblins and move around the streets to collect fruits, nuts and sweets. Many sprinkle salt on the hair of their children in order to protect them against evil. The houses are hung with pumpkins on which scary faces are carved and a candle or an incandescent bulb is placed inside the pumpkin. Bonfires are lit outside the houses and on the streets for children dance around. People in Ireland spend their evening with ‘trick-or-treating’ either by playing tricks and pranks on others or having parties with friends and neighbors. Some also play the ‘snap-apple’ game where the hands of the player will be tied and an apple will be tied on a string and suspended above. The player has to take a bite. Other games such as treasure hunt, hide and seek, cards, knock-a-dolly and so on.