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Ireland: Home of Halloween

by Angelique Platas

Oct 30, 2020

Photo: David Morrison | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

While Halloween will look different for many of us this year, we can still experience all the fun traditions from the home of Halloween, from home. While it may seem like a riddle, it’s true! All the spooky and beloved traditions of Halloween can actually be traced back thousands of years to Ireland.


Ordinarily, Ireland should be on your list of must-visit destinations during spooky season, but if all we get this year is a history lesson with a side of intrigue, we will take it!


Way back in the day, some 3,000 years to ancient Ireland, Christian Celtics believed the changing of seasons from fall to winter created an opening between the living world and the spirit world during a celebration called Samhain, marking the beginning of winter. To protect themselves from being pulled into the spirit world during the seasonal exchange, the Celts protected themselves by dressing up in homemade disguises as a way to hide from, and even scare away, roaming spirits, ghosts, demons and even fairies and hobgoblins.


Along with playing dress up and creating clever costumes, the season also welcomed large bonfires on hilltops, harvest festivals and seasonal fare.


Even our beloved Jack-o-lanterns can be traced back to Ireland, only instead of using pumpkins, the Irish used turnips. After crafting homemade lanterns, the younger family members would head out “trick-or-treating,” actually an attempt for poor children to collect food for their families.


While Ireland’s many incredible festivals, celebrations and historic sites may be out of reach this year for families, history buffs and spooky travelers to visit physically, we can still celebrate from home in our own way. Check out this virtual tour here and make some plans for 2021 to keep those spirits up — see what we did there?


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