Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Samhain / All Hallows Eve / Halloween

Happy Samhain to All! Now most people know this as Halloween and presume that it is some American festival, and of course nothing could be further from the truth. As a young lad growing up in Cork we always celebrated 31st October. This was not a trick or treating event, but an evening spent playing various games like trying to take a bite out of an apple on a string, or dunking apples, watching bonfires, and eating Irish stew and especially the sweet bread called barmbrak (Irish: bairín breac), and see if you were lucky enough to find a ring or a coin in the cake (and not a rag or a stick). 

Samhain was one of the four main pre-Christian festivals and usually fire was a key symbol. Some of these have survived through to the modern day especially in Cork and the wilds of West Cork, so that on 23rd June we also lit large bonfires and celebrated St.John's Eve (or
Lughnasa as the old festival was called). 

So the Irish stew with a glass of Guinness is on the table and the barmbrack is in the oven. I hope a great evening is had by all who read this blog.


  1. A happy Samhain to you too

    1. Thanks Andrew. Irish has a bit of a disconnect between spelling with the modern English alphabet and pronuciation. Samhain should be pronounced "SAH-win."