Halloween Origins

Halloween is celebrated all over the World but as we all know it originated in Ireland!

Halloween Festival is celebrated globally, but did you know that it’s origins date back over 2,000 years to Ireland? The Celtic Festival of Samhain is a direct descendant of the Modern Day Halloween. Samhain commemorates the division of the year between the lighter part of the year of Summer and the darker months of the Winter. At the end of the Celtic year, the ancient people believed that the division between this world and the ‘other world’ was at its’ weakest and evil spirits could break through. The festival of Samhain also celebrated a bountiful Harvest which would feed all of the people throughout the long Winter months. During the 19th century, the Irish spread throughout the world and took their ancient traditions with them. These traditions form part of the modern global Halloween celebrations.

Halloween Traditions:

  1. Halloween Bonfires are traditionally lit across Ireland to ward off evil spirits. Ancient people believed that a strong powerful sun kept the forces of the Underworld in check, however they could rise and become more powerful again when the Sun was at its’ weakest. By lighting great bonfires they could help the sun to shine all winter. During the Samhain festival all household fires were extinguished and relit from the embers of the Great Communal Fire.
  1. The Tradition of dressing up in costumes stems from ancient times when the spirits of the dead were thought to roam the earth and cause mischief and harm to people. It was believed that by dressing up as ghosts or ghouls you would mimic them and the real ghosts would leave you alone. The Celts would also dress up in animal costumes to summon the protection of the animal spirits to help protect them while the spirits of the dead roamed the earth.
  1. Trick or Treat originated centuries ago when the Poor would go to rich people’s houses and ask for food, money and kindling for a Bonfire as donations towards their Halloween festivities. If the wealthy households were unwilling to donate to the communities Halloween festival, then the ‘trick or treaters’ would play a prank would on the household!!
  1. Barn Brack is a traditional Cake eaten at Halloween and has magical properties to foretell the future! This sweet cake contains gifts that would be discovered by guests. Traditionally a ring, a coin, a rag and a thimble are baked into the cake. The person who gets the ring will get married soon and the lucky recipient of the coin will have great wealth. Unfortunately all of the ‘charms’ aren’t as pleasant – if you get a slice containing a rag will live in poverty while the thimble will foresee dying an old maid!

With the Halloween season approaching, it’s time to make plans for the best things to do in Dublin. With so much happening its can be difficult to choose the best ghoulish events to attend this year. The good news is that we have done the hard work so you don’t have to! Our Top picks feature a Horrorfest, Bram Stoker Festival with Free Torchlight Parades, & extravagant 1920’s themed Halloween party. Check out the Best Things to do in Dublin here

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