Culinary Delights This Halloween!

Halloween originated in Ireland as an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was celebration of the end of the harvest season, it is still sometimes referred to as Celtic New Year. The Celts believed that on October 31 the boundary between the living and the dead was dissolved, the dead walked the earth causing sickness and damaging crops. They Celts would light bonfires to ward off evil spirits, they would also don masks and costumes to mimic the spirits in an attempt to placate them. To this day, people in Ireland dress up as creatures from the underworld. There are also other traditions which have developed and evolved over the years, including:

Colcannon - This is the dish that is traditionally cooked for dinner on Halloween night. It contains potatoes, cabbage and onion.

Barmbrack - This is the traditional cake for Halloween. It is a fruit bread The Halloween Brack traditionally contains various objects baked into the bread. Each member of the family is given a slice, in the barmbrack are placed a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, is supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, “to beat one’s wife with”, would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be married within the year

The Ivy Leaf- Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween

Jack O’Lanterns - The legend relates that a young blacksmith made a pact with the devil, he was denied entry into Heaven and was condemned to wander the roads of Ireland. He was allowed to carry a burning ember which he placed inside a gouged out turnip. People hung turnips in the windows of their homes to ward off evil spirits. When the Irish arrived in America they continued the tradition but because of the scarcity of turnips they used pumpkins instead.

Halloween Games - Games are often played, such as bobbing for apples, where apples, peanuts and other nuts and fruit and some small coins are placed in a basin of water. The apples and nuts float, but the coins, which sink, are harder to catch. Everyone takes turns catching as many items possible using only their mouths. In some households, the coins are embedded in the fruit for the children to “earn” as they catch each apple. Another common game involves the hands-free eating of an apple hung on a string attached to the ceiling

Happy Halloween!

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About The Author, Russell Shortt
Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source: