Did you know the origins of Halloween trace back 3,000 years ago to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (Sow-win)?
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Did you know the origins of Halloween trace back 3,000 years ago to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (Sow-win)? Tourism Ireland are showcasing Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween, and have produced brand new, custom content focused on the history, traditions and fun facts surrounding the celebrations on October 31st. For more information and to access the assets please see the toolkit available here.
Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry City
Bram Stoker Festival, Dublin City
Loftus Hall, Co Wexford
3,000 years ago, in pagan Ireland, the ancient Celts celebrated ‘Samhain’ (sow-win), a harvest festival to mark the start of winter, when the veil between this world and the next was at its weakest and spirits – the Púcaí (Puca) – and fairies walked the earth. Traditions began that last to this day. Large communal bonfires were lit to ward off demons, and embers were carried home in a hollow turnip (the original Jack O’Lantern), masks were worn as disguises against evil spirits (the first Halloween costumes) and soul cakes were offered to children and the poor (today’s trick or treating). A barmbrack cake was baked to forecast the future and this fruit loaf is still eaten today. Emigrants brought these customs to North America, then it spread around the world as Halloween. But its spiritual home will always be Samhain in Ireland. Get stuck in to our Halloween quiz and test your knowledge of Ireland during the spookiest time of the year, to access click here.
To check out 9 of the spookiest stories to ever come out of Ireland, featuring Northern spectres, ghost rivers and the Devil himself click here.
Ireland's favourite Halloween recipes, such as barmbrack (fruit cake) and colcannon can be found here. These foods often contain items that can foretell your future. such as a ring (married in a year) or a coin (wealth) so chew with caution!
The Halloween Barmbrack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea (you won't marry over the next year), a stick (an unhappy marriage), a piece of cloth (a small piece of cloth foretells poverty), a small coin (represents great wealth) and a ring (one would be wed within the year).
Colcannon which is mashed potato, cabbage, and lashings of butter was made in Ireland around Halloween. Like barmbrack it was also believed whatever “trinket” you found in your potatoes predicted your future.
Tourism Ireland have produced brand new, custom content focused on the history, traditions and fun facts surrounding the celebrations on October 31st. These assets are available for rights-free usage on your owned channels, should you wish to add them to your content calendars. For more information and to access the assets please contact your Tourism Ireland market representative, contact list here.