Halloween Traditions with photographs

We celebrate Halloween on 31st October each year.

Waning Gibbous Moon
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The celebration of Halloween

has a long history.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere

we needed something to cheer us up

as the cold, dark nights arrive,

so the Celts marked the end of Summer

and the start of the Winter months, 

with a celebration called Samhain; ‘All Souls’.

Playing With Fire
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It was said that the souls of those who had passed

into the next world came to visit at this time. 

The celebration marked the end of Summer

and the start of the Winter months.

The time of the Celts in Ireland was 2000BC – 400AD.


Here are some Irish Halloween Traditions:

Traditionally for dinner there was ‘Colcannon’;

a plate of mashed potato, cabbage and onion.

Pennies were wrapped up in baking paper

and placed in the mash for children to find and keep!


The traditional Halloween cake is barmbrack which is a fruit cake.

Once again you would have to be careful eating this

or you would break your teeth

because there were ‘tokens’ hidden in it.


If you got the rag then the next year would be a poor one.

If you got the coin then you could look forward to a year of riches.

Finding the ring was said to predict an engagement.

Irish fruit brack
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If you wanted to find out who your future partner might be

you were advised to peel an apple in one go.

The single apple peel was then dropped on the floor

to show the initials of this mystery person.

Jack O'Lanterns
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The tradition of Jack O’Lanterns travelled from Ireland to the USA.

But originally the Irish carved out turnips.

When the Irish emigrated to America there was not a great supply of turnips

so pumpkins were used instead. Pumpkins are easier to carve than turnips too!


Though the tradition of wearing costumes and ‘trick or treating’

seems to have been imported from the USA,

a tradition of wearing disguise also dates back to Celtic times.

By disguising themselves people superstitiously believed

that the souls who were visiting would leave them alone.


Halloween Games include ‘Snap Apple’.

An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded.

The first child to get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their prize.

A variation of this game involves hanging a bar of soap with the apple.

The risk was then that one would get a mouthful of soap instead of apple.

‘Bobbing for Apples’ can be played by placing apples in a basin of water

and trying to get a grip on the fruit!

halloween party 030
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The Halloween bonfire is another tradition

and a more modern addition is the use of fireworks,

though they are illegal in Ireland.

It is important to be safe on Halloween.

halloween's harvest

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: pipnstuff via Compfight

2 thoughts on “Halloween Traditions with photographs

  1. Hello from Texas, USA!

    I enjoyed reading your post about Halloween traditions in Ireland. My son visited Ireland after his high school graduation, and one of his best memories is of the bonfires in Dublin on that Halloween night in 2004. To this day, he still refers to Halloween as Samhain! He fell in love with your country, and said it did not disappoint: of all the countries he visited in Europe that year, Ireland was the one most like its beautiful tour books and famous mythology.

    Y’all are doing wonderful work in your blogging! It’s always nice to stop in for a visit here.

    Mrs. Kriese, West Ridge Middle School

  2. Dear Mrs. Kriese,

    Thank you for your comment about Halloween Traditions. We are glad your son enjoyed Halloween in Ireland and that his holiday lived up to his expectations. Halloween is a high point in our own year, here. The children from the youngest to the oldest get very excited about it.

    We like living in Ireland and are proud of our country. But because we live here all the time, sometimes we take it a bit for granted. It is good to be reminded by visitors about our myths and country side.

    Thanks for visiting our blog again,
    Patrick and Calvin.

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