As you may know, Halloween developed from an old Celtic tradition. Way back when, the Celtic festival of Samhain celebrated the end of the harvest season and the threshold between the summer and winter seasons. In the ancient tradition, October 31 was a night when the dead and the living co-mingled, livestock were slaughtered for the winter, bonfires burned, and costumes and masks were worn to make nice with the undead.
These days, Halloween is still very big in Ireland, and the Irish people maintain some unique traditions for the spooky holiday.
One of these traditions is the customary Halloween dinner of colcannon. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of boiled potatoes, cabbage, and raw onions. In an interesting twist, wrapped coins are hidden inside the meal, and the children who find them keep them as special gifts.
Speaking of eating, another Irish Halloween tradition is the Barnbrack Cake. This is a fruit bread, but on Halloween there’s more to it than food. Each cake has a piece of rag, a coin, and a ring in it. Every family member gets a slice of cake, hoping for the best prize. If you get the rag, you can expect financial difficulties ahead. Get the coin, and you will have a prosperous year. Get the ring, and you are bound to find romance.
Ireland also partakes in many Halloween customs more familiar to Americans. Carving jack-o-lanterns, wearing costumes, and bobbing for apples are all customary in Ireland. But they don't stop there. In Ireland, Halloween is the perfect chance to light up the night sky.