Some of the spookier characters from the Otherworld to visit included the Dullahan (predecessor for our headless horsemen), Pukah the shapeshifter, and Lady Gywn, the headless woman in white. His 1785 poem ‘Hallowe’en’ details many of the national customs and legends surrounding the festival which persisted even with the introduction of Christianity. Halloween has it’s origins in the Pagan Celtic tradition of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-inn’ or ‘sow-een’). The festival of Samhain (sow-en), celebrated on November 1st, was a gateway to the otherworld, when spirits wandered the earth in search of new bodies to … These traditions relate to the use of masks, carving vegetables (gourds), and other celebrations of the fall harvest. Its a long tradition of Derry to celebrate Halloween with thousands taking to the streets to celebrate one night of being in fancy dress. It is not unusual to see houses in Ireland decked out in all manner of decorations from ghosts and witches to Vampires and Banshees. According to legend, it is because of Finn Mac Cumhail that Ailleen no longer burns down the hill of Tara each Samhain. In order to confuse the fairies on the hunt (The Fairy Host), people would dress up as animals or monsters (‘mumming’ or ‘guising’). RELATED: 10 Places All Halloween-Lovers Have To See. 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. Irish immigrants brought their Halloween traditions with them to the new world. Halloween - Celtic Day of the Dead . The city boasts a major festival every year including parades, fireworks, and other Halloween festivities. Traditionally Halloween was a day that feasts were held and this tradition has not died out. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins. Today Halloween is a holiday devoted to fun and pranks, feasting and dressing up and of course trick or treating. 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. Celtic Halloween called Samhain in Gaelic is a traditional Celtic festival marking the end of the harvest season. Sometimes this meant the spirits of ancestors past, and sometimes this meant fairies intending to steal people away, back to their world. 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. Samhain, which translates to "end of summer," occurred around the end of October, when the weather started to get cold. 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 … It was once believed that at Samhain, the Celtic New Year, the veil between our world and the spirit world was very thin. The convergence of these two high holidays is now what we know as Halloween. Samhain ( pronounced /sow-ween/ in Irish) is the final fire festival of the Celtic year. Many modern Halloween activities are rooted in old traditions. A Holiday that Ireland gave to America. Celtic Halloween - Happy New Year! 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. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months. Skilled frontman, Neil Hannon, indisputable talent for writing, arcane and witty personality, and his…, COPYRIGHT 2019 YourIrish.com | Made in Ireland. While some countries don’t recognize Halloween at all, others celebrate in a variety of different ways. Let us know in the comments! So everyone held great feasts to celebrate the end of the Celtic year. Dunking tactics include spearing apples with a fork held between the teeth or, for those with strong gnashers, a big decisive bite. 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. Their traditions include saining the home and lighting bonfires. These fires also discouraged the Aos SÍ who were out on the hunt. Why do people wear fancy dress on Halloween? Turnips were carved with faces to spook spirits away (as opposed to today’s pumpkins). For this is when the veil between spirit and earthly is at it’s thinnest. For a good performance, neighbors gave food and little cakes. 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. Samhain was considered the Celtic New Year, celebrating the ending of the … All this food would need to be washed down and an old drink that was consumed was called Lambswool. This was thought to bring good fortune during the long dark winters. In its place, Halloween became the main festivity although some of the traditions of Samhain remained. For example, pumpkin carving began in America but has Celtic roots. Without using their hands, players have to grab an apple floating in a basin of water. It also marks the beginning of winter also known as the “darker half” of the year because the days get dramatically shorter. For example, pumpkin carving began in America but has Celtic roots. Halloween in Ireland has been celebrated for centuries and first originated from the festival of Samhain which dates back over 2,000  years. Your email address will not be published. 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. This tradition was known as ‘Souling’. Sounds easy, right? Site Designed by. 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. The one thing that remains consistent across … If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. 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.” One theory holds that many Halloween traditions may have been influenced by ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, which may have had pagan roots; some scholars hold that Samhain may have been Christianized as All Hallow's Day, along with its eve, by the early Church. It was also a time to honor the dead and gods using pagan rituals. This tradition was known as ‘Souling’. Essentially a farming and agricultural people, the Pre-Christian Celtic year was determined by the growing seasons and Samhain marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning … The custom of ‘trick or treat’ was founded in Ireland when children and the poor went from door to door at Halloween. Top Irish Halloween traditions. Irish Halloween Traditions. Serena is a cat lover and writer, in that order. Halloween Costumes: On Halloween night children would dress up in scary costumes and go house to house. Some follow the old tradition of building two bonfires, which celebrants and animals then pass between as a ritual of purification. Being the end of the harvest, Samhain meant it was time to collect food for the winter. 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'. Halloween has its ancient roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Celtic and Irish Halloween Traditions When is Halloween celebrated in Ireland? Share this article: BY the time you read this, October will more or less be upon us. Until 2,000 years ago, the Celts lived across the lands we now know as Britain, Ireland and northern France. Eight Irish Dishes Perfect for Thanksgiving, Bloomsday – Celebrating James Joyce in Dublin. The various traditions and ceremonies from Samhain came from Celtic beliefs. Samhain is traditionally celebrated at sunset on October 31st and lasts until sunrise on November first. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the … Festivities included lots of feasting, dancing, divination, sacrifices, and storytelling. It' … 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. The night before All Hallows Day combined with Samhain, and became All Hallows’ Eve, or Hallow’een. 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. They’d retell the adventures of Nuada, or tell of Finn Mac Cumhail and how he defeated Ailleen. While the traditional Samhain festivities still took place, they began to merge with these holy days (or All Hallows Days, for holy hallowed saints). For CRs, it is a time when the dead are especially honoured. The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, 'All Hallowtide' - the 'Feast of the Dead', when the dead revisited the mortal world. Halloween is traditional thought of as an American holiday for children, but it originated from Celtic traditions in Ireland revolving around the … Required fields are marked *, ©Copyright 2019, Irish Traditions. This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. 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. After all this feasting the adults usually party on into the ‘wee small hours’ while the children go upstairs to terrify each other with tales of wailing Banshees and ghosts that walk the corridors of their schools and all things creepy and scary that go bump in the night. It was this season Irish storytellers would tell about the Second Battle of Mag Tuired between the Tuatha de Danaan and the evil Fomorians. Then, they would join their community for great bonfire festivals or Samghnagans. Samhain ( pronounced /sow-ween/ in Irish) is the final fire festival of the Celtic year. Tlachtga was the location of the Great Fire … At Halloween when the veil between the living and the dead is at it thinnest men would have … In particular, the Irish Catholic populations in Maryland and other southern colonies continued their Samhain traditions. By Eileen Houlihan. Samhain was the time of year many great legends took place. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. 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. 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. Is Halloween an American or Irish holiday? We also acknowledge the darker part of the year with ghost stories and mischief-making. Children will run from door to door, dressed in wonderful colorful costumes from evil witches to nasty little hobgoblins all shouting, “trick or treat” and they will receive sweets, fruit or nuts so ensuring that the house will be safe from any tricks the children wish to play. After the festivities, Irish families would go home with a flame from the great bonfire and relight their hearths. Celtic Origins & Traditions. Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Other cities around Ireland are also following with celebrating Halloween holding large parades and events for families. Today, we continue the ancient practice of disguising ourselves and going door to door for food with trick or treating. This meant that Otherworld spirits & fairies  ( the Aos Sí) were able to cross over the barrier and visit people. The tradition stems from the Celtic practice of the Samhain festival which was celebrated in the British Isles and has grown into a holiday that is celebrated throughout the world. The Celts were mostly farming and agricultural people and the Pre-Christian Celtic year was structured based on the growing seasons. Samhain had three distinct elements. Halloween derives from the early Celtic Church and civilization and the link with the feast of All Saints or All Hallows on Nov. 1. Halloween has become a children’s favourite because of the opportunity to dress up, play games with friends and get free sweets and candies. Two hills in the Boyne Valley were associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, Tlachtga and Tara. Leaders of local septs were expected to visit their regional Irish king. 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 Grea… Halloween dates back to Ancient Celtic times, some 2,000 years ago. This Celtic tradition is still observed by some minorities today. Bits of toast can be added if desired. Turnips, apples and apple cider, mulled wines, gourds, nuts, beef, pork, poultry, ale – the Samhain recipes concocted from the harvest brought the community together as work halted, feasting started and the Celts ate the fruits of their labour, told … An ancient Celtic tradition, this game remains a firm favourite at Halloween parties. 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. It is considered a kids festival but the original halloween involved the whole community. On the special night when the living and the dead were at their closest the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate … They later moved them to coincide with Samhain, putting All Saint’s Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The flames of old fires had to be extinguished and ceremonially re-lit by druids. In keeping with the Celtic tradition of the ghosts of the dead returning on Samhain, Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome on May 13, 609 AD, in honor of all Christian martyrs and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs' Day was … The evening before All Saints Day was known as All Hallows Eve, which we now call Halloween. The city of Derry has become the best place to visit for Halloween according to a USA Today poll in 2015 for the top 10 destinations to visit for Halloween. As Christianity spread across Europe, including Ireland, pagan rituals of Samhain died over time. Between October 31st and November 1st, the harvest season comes to a close and winter is ushered in. 3 - Treacle Scones The Celtic Origins of Halloween and Halloween Traditions October 11, 2020 The Irish Jewelry Company As children and adults around the world take part in the spooky festivities of Halloween on the night of October 31st, All Hallows Eve, few know of its ancient Irish Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. Our celebration of Halloween is closely related to many of the Celtic Samhain traditions from medieval Ireland and Scotland. Despite what many people believe it was not about devil worship or evil. Leaving small food offerings outside your door appeased visiting spirits. The origin of carving Jack-O-Lanterns is unclear but an old Irish folk tale tells of Stingy Jack a lazy Irish Blacksmith who tricks the Devil and traps him using a cross and refuses to free him until the Devil agrees not to take his soul when he dies. The holiday has always celebrated the strange and scary, but festivities as … The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Firstly, it was an important fire festival, celebrated over the evening of 31 October and throughout the following day. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November, as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. 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. Your email address will not be published. As Christianity began to spread in Ireland, the leaders of the young Christian church hoped to guide their flock away from pagan rites. 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. The traditions that we use to celebrate Halloween today began thousands of years ago with this ancient Irish high holiday. 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 All Saints Day soon fused some of the traditions of Samhain. The Irish … To entertain spirits, ancestors, and neighbors alike, children would travel door to door and sing songs. At its heart, Samhain was an observance of all the important things that were happening during this change of seasons. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III decided November 1 as a time to honour all saints. Sugar is then added according to taste. The traditions that we use to celebrate Halloween today began thousands of years ago with this ancient Irish high holiday. ­M­os­t of the traditions of Halloween date back to Samhain (sow-en), the ancient Celtic New Year. A growing trend here in Ireland is to have a Halloween tree, not unlike a Christmas tree but it is black and has all types of Halloween creepy crawlies attached to it. 'Help the Halloween Party' and 'Trick or Treat' were the cries to be heard at each door. Old May Day Customs & Traditions in Ireland, How To Make A Hot Toddy (Irish Whiskey Punch). Between October 31st and November 1st, the harvest season comes to a close and winter is ushered in. Halloween has its roots in Samhain, but they are not the same thing. The Divine Comedy is one of Ireland’s most respected indie-pop bands. Various recipes exist for this drink but the bases of it are Roasted crushed apples, which are added to milk, hot spiced ale, cider and or wine. Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, traces back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain that was celebrated October 31 – November 1. To find the origin of Halloween, you have to look to the festival of Samhain in Ireland's Celtic past. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. What’s your favorite part of Samhain? 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. BY: Harry Brent September 30, 2019. shares 300. These pagan rights were cooped by the early Catholic clerics in these countries, and they have more recently been restored as part of … The beginning of Samhain was marked by the Great Fire Festival at the hill of Tlachtga (Hill of Ward). 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