We are looking forward to Halloween in a few weeks! Did you know the Irish invented Halloween? Not the commercialized American version with costumes and candy and spooky stories. In Celtic Ireland, it was called Samhain (SAH-win) and marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark, winter months. It was in these days, that the dead were thought to come back into the world. Not like the zombies in Walking Dead, no. We’re talking friendly ancestor spirits here. They would welcome their spirits back by leaving food out for them and having feasts from the newly brought in harvest. They also lit bonfires to keep the evil spirits away, hence the modern idea of lighting candles in jack o’ lanterns and leaving them on the front porch.
When Christianity came to Ireland, the church leaders tried to draw the people away from their traditions. Try as they may, however, they could not do so. As a result, they did what they always did in those situations, they created a new Christian holiday and put it on top of the pagan one. I suppose this was a way of making themselves feel better. So November 1st became known as All Saint’s Day or Hallow’s Day, a day to honor past saints. This made October 31st, Hallow’s eve, eventually becoming Halloween.
Now as much as I love a good history lesson, I’m all about the commercialism when it comes to holidays. I know, it’s terrible, I should be embarrassed! As a citizen of the world, I shouldn’t be so material, but when it comes to holidays, I’m as American as they come. I just can’t help myself. Any holiday. Admittedly, the Fall and Winter holidays are my absolute favorite, and Halloween is the gateway. ) It is the beginning of the whole crazy decoration frenzy that lasts from October to New Years. In fact, I’ll bet Walmart already has it’s Christmas stuff out! (I can’t confirm that, but it’s a heck of a good guess, don’t ya think? I love everything about Halloween. All the decorations, the dressing up and walking around the neighborhood in the dark with tons of giggling kids. I love the candy corn and jack o’ lanterns. I have ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween schedule printed out and ready to go. I just love it.
Halloween in Ireland is no where near as commercialized as it is in the US but at least they have Halloween. As much as I loved Australia (and still do) they didn’t have anything to do with Halloween so it was a bit of a let down. So here in Ireland, there’s a chill in the air, costume shops are opening up in vacant spaces and kids are getting excited. We are trick or treating with some friends in their lovely little neighborhood. In the meantime, why not try out a few costumes to see which one will bring in the most sweets!