Since today is Halloween I thought I'd share some Irish Halloween traditions. I have written in past about how the tradition of Halloween originated in Ireland. Many of the things we do to celebrate Halloween like carving pumpkins and dressing up came from the Irish festival of Samhain. (pronounced sow-in)
Probably the best known Irish Halloween tradition is the making of Barnbrack. This is a type of fruit cake which is eaten during Halloween. The tradition is that there is a ring, a coin and a piece of cloth baked in the cake. Each member of the family gets a slice of the cake in the hope they might find the ring or the coin. The ring is said to be a sign that the person will find love and be married. The coin is a symbol of future wealth and the piece of cloth unfortunately is a sign of poverty!
There are also many Halloween games that I think originated in Ireland and are perhaps uniquely Irish. A lot of these involve apples! The first and probably the messiest is bobbing for apples. Apples are put in a basin of water, each person has to dunk their head in to the water and without using their hands must try to retrieve an apple. The successful participants win a prize.
The other game we played as children was Snap Apple. Apples are hung with string from the ceiling. The players are then blindfolded and not allowed to use their hands. The object of the game is to take a bite from one of the apples, more difficult than in sounds believe me!. The first person to do so is the winner. The painting above of people playing Snap Apple was painted by the artist Daniel Maclise after he visited a Halloween party in Blarney, Co. Cork.
If you fancy something a little bit scarier you could tell ghost stories. Ireland has some terrifying ghosts and spirits like the Banshee. The banshee is a female spirit and is considered to be an omen of death. She can be heard wailing when she predicts a death.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate have a very Happy Halloween!
... and as you are herd, why not check out our collection of handmade jewelry inspired by all things Irish.