Halloween as we know it today is celebrated in several countries around the world. However, it originated in Ireland. Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in the world and is rooted in the Celtic celebration called, Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic word. It mean send of Summer. Gaelic is the official language of Ireland and also has its roots in the Celts.
The Celts are the ancient peoples of modern day Ireland.
In Ireland, it is celebrated very much like it is the United States and Canada. Children dress up in costume and go out trick-or-treating in areas where they live. The treating is always appreciated, but the tricking part of the experience is less appreciated. After trick-or-treating some people have parties during which kids play traditional Halloween games. Apple bobbing, as is practiced today, used to be called “snap-apple,” and the object of the game is grab the apple in your teeth! You tie the apple to a string and hang it in the doorway.
Irish children play card games, too, on Halloween. Cards from a deck are placed on a table with coins or candy under them, and as the children choose, they get to keep the treat which is under the card. One of the foods eaten in Ireland on Halloween is a cake called, “Barnbrack.” Barnbrack is sold in stores around Ireland during this time of year and it isn’t just food. Inside the cake are little gits wrapped in food-safe fabric. When you chose your piece and open your object, it is supposed to be a sign for your future!
Halloween is based in a religious holiday, but children of all religions celebrate dressing up as their favorite real or fictional person, or even a favorite animal. Halloween is so popular, many retailers which specialize in selling products for the holiday report making all their year’s profit selling for this one holiday. Candy sales sky-rocket, as well. As parents, we know it’s more than likely dental appointments increase, too.
So, if you are looking for someone to thank for Halloween, thank the Irish. No matter which country was the birth place of trick-or-treating, all the same rules apply. Never let your children go trick-or-treating alone and never to a neighborhood with which you are not familiar. Never let them eat homemade candy from strangers. Always take a light source with you because it gets dark quickly and much earlier this time of year. Most of all, have a lot of fun, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN, or as they say in Ireland, sásta Oíche Shamhna!