Irish Halloween Traditions: Samhain in Ireland

When it comes to the occult, Halloween is a popular time of the year to test your nerves and explore all of the scary things that the world has to offer. Ghosts, goblins, spirits, and apparitions are all commonplace when it comes to this eerie celebration of the dead and unknown. This time of the year is also thought to create the strongest bond with the paranormal and spiritual world. Many people run around with the hopes of capturing a chance to come face-to-face with a ghost from the past and possibly more.


Although the United States is often associated with the celebration of Halloween, there are numerous countries about the world that embrace this particular holiday
. Let’s take a look at Ireland, which has ties to the original birthplace of Halloween.
Additional names for this celebration in Ireland are called
“Oíche Shamhna” or “Samhain Night”. It is the Celts
that celebrate Halloween as Samhain, which is viewed as the end of summer.


The celebration of Samhain is often accompanied by a grand feast or festival involving fire and other enhancements. Participants often believe that this is the time when the deceased will once again walk among the living and enter the mortal world. Usually, large bonfires attracting the community are created, which are meant to keep away possible bad spirits that may be in the midst of the gathering. Deep-seeded pagan rites that evolved from ancient times characterized Samhain in Ireland. This tradition was even enjoyed after Christianity made its way to the land, which was seen in the middle of the 6th century.


During the early 1800s in Ireland, community-wide parties were rather common. Young children gathered amongst themselves for Halloween-related entertainment. Many of them participated in a round or two of bobbing for animals. There were also numerous games for adults to enjoy, making Halloween in Ireland quite fun with less emphasis on Dracula, Frankenstein and mummies. During these days, it was common to enjoy a series of divination games that made reference to future loves they may encounter in life.


When Halloween night came about in Ireland, a variety of costumes were donned by the children, as well as by the adults, who chose selections such as zombies, ghosts, witches, and other ghoulish creatures. Light bonfires are still popular to this day. In the neighborhood, children walk about and knock on the doors to collect a host of treats. While chocolate and other candies are common for United States trick-or-treaters, popular treats for the children in Ireland are also fruit and nuts. To ward of evil spirits, salt is sprinkled into the hair of traveling children.


Pumpkins are carved in the United States to create jack-o-lanterns. These decorations are often placed in the windows or doorsteps of homes. In Ireland, they also carve up pumpkins, as well as use turnips to display creative scary faces and images. Halloween is so important in Ireland that the children receive vacation time from school that lasts for a week. It is during the last Monday in October that is considered a public holiday in regards to Halloween. This is reserved for the event, even though it doesn’t occur at the same time each year.