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Oíche Samhain

Óiche Shamhna shona dúit.. Happy Halloween from all of us at Trohanny Cottage!!

There's a lot i like about Halloween, not the modern horror movie version but the original traditions of Óiche Samhain.

Not everyone knows that Halloween was originally an Irish Pagan festival celebrating the end of harvest season and the preparation for Winter coming. Fires were lit, Livestock were slaughtered and crops stored to last over the coming months.

Irish people believed from midnight 31st October to 1st November, the veil that separated our world from the afterworld was lifted and spirits freely roamed hence the tradition of wearing masks and dressing up to as confuse the spirits and avoid a spooky chance meeting!

The idea of todays trick-a-treating is an Americanised version of what we called 'The Mummers' (wearing a guise)

I remember my Dad telling us tales of him and his brothers and sisters walking miles going from house to house in their homemade outfits often with straw hats and playing music, telling poems and stories in return for apples and nuts and possibly coins. As he used to say.. 'you didn't get anything unless you did something'!

He hated the lazy 'hand out-give me sweets(candy)' version of modern times.

My father grew up in a rural part of County Leitrim in the 1940s/50s where they didn't have alot of anything, but i do think he knocked great craic out of Halloween.

He told us with glee how they would tell tales of the Púca and the Banshee and hide in the ditches and jump out to give any poor unsuspecting fecker the fright of their life 😅 I think he passed a bit of that down to all of us too.

As kids he would have us doing all the old Halloween games.. bobbing for apples in water , apple hanging from the string and hands tied behind your back and the clay/water/ring in saucers to tell your were blindfolded and had to pick one.. water meant travel, ring was marriage and clay was death.. very jolly fun for a 5 year old eh 🤣🤣🤣

After games we would throw on some handmade outfit, which usually meant an attack on my Mams' wardrobe!

Old fur coat and a cheap plastic mask and you were some sort of scary animal, long black dress and a hat you were a witch, and if all else failed an old white sheet with holes in it or worse again a black plastic sack.. that's about as scary as it got 😆

In Ireland it was the humble turnip that was carved into a 'Jack O Latern' the idea of carving Pumpkins originated after the Irish emigration to America where Pumpkins were plentiful(and easier to carve!)

One of my favourite stories is of how on Halloween night the Púca would roam freely and pee on all the berries so they were poison to eat afterwards.

The Púca was originally described as a big black ugly horse with red eyes and if he found you out after dark he would ride off with you to the Otherworld..

Sounds like a exciting night out to me 🤔😉😁👻🐎💀👹

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