While a lot of people would think that St. Patrick’s Day is the main Irish event of the year, Halloween is actually the most Irish of festivals. It is a huge celebration here in Ireland and you might be surprised to find that some of our American Halloween traditions actually came from Ireland! Here is a list of some Irish Halloween traditions, which are still very much alive today! : )
Did you know…
- In Ireland, the pumpkin is traditionally known as the Jack O Lantern. The old tale of how it was invented revolved around a blacksmith named Jack who hollowed out a turnip and placed a burning coal ember inside it. It is said that when the Irish immigrated to the United States, they took this Halloween tradition with them. Instead of using turnips they began to use pumpkins because it was easier to grow them! Thanks, Ireland, for the pumpkin carving tradition! : )
- There is a traditional Irish Halloween food called “the barnbrack”. It is a fruit bread, but what makes it special is that various things are baked inside it! You will find things such as a coin, a rag, a ring, and a thimble! The bread is shared among the family members and eaten VERY carefully. Each item signified different things. If you got the rag, it meant that you would be poor, the coin – rich, the thimble meant you would never marry, and the ring meant that you would find romance and be happy ever after. So of course, Miss Heim – and I’m sure everyone else – wants the ring! Maybe I can take my happily ever after Prince to my castle with the ring 😉
- The Irish have a traditional Halloween bonfire. Some say the bonfires were originally built to keep away evil spirits; others say it was to help spirits find their way. Either way, one thing is certain: If you don’t have a bonfire in Ireland, you don’t have Halloween. Bonfires are a huge part of the Halloween festivities in Ireland and are lit throughout the country. Some bonfires take days of preparation to be built!
- Trick or Treat originated centuries ago when the poor people of Ireland would go around to the rich peoples houses and ask for food or money, which they then would use their celebration of Halloween.
- The Irish call their costumes “fancy dress”.
- The tradition of wearing costumes dates back to Celtic times. On Halloween night, the Celtics would dress up in really fancy costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising themselves, they hoped that they would avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for Halloween costumes!
- They have big Halloween parades in Ireland. Dublin City and Derry City have the biggest and best in the country.
- They have fireworks for Halloween!! And if you don’t do fireworks, you have sparklers! So cool, I know! But remember, the Irish don’t have a Fourth of July to celebrate like we do and we have our own pretty cool fireworks on that day : ) I think that maybe we should have fireworks and/or sparklers on Halloween as well though, what do you think?!
So what is your fancy dress this Halloween? I’d love to find out! Have a safe and happy Halloween tonight my friends! 🙂