UAE, Dubai, 28th October 2020: Halloween is a time for thrills, chills and scaring ourselves silly; but did you know that everyone's favourite fright-filled holiday began on the island of Ireland?
Over 3,000 years ago, Halloween originated in Ireland's Ancient East through the Celtic festival of Samhain. It began as a great celebration of a fire and feasting to mark the end of the season of light and the beginning of the dark days of winter.
During this transition, it was believed there was an interaction between the worlds of the living and the dead and that spirits could move between them. Fearing these beings might pull them into the otherworld before their time, the Celts would disguise themselves in costumes to confuse and scare off the roaming spirits, fairies and hobgoblins and just like that, Halloween was born!
With the ritual of scary fancy dress and Halloween as we know it beginning in Ireland, so too did a whole host of traditions and customs that celebrators still follow to this day. Ahead of this years celebration, Tourism Ireland is giving some top terrifying tales and frightening facts from the home of Halloween to get everyone into the spooky spirit:
- Lit up pumpkins with ghoulish faces is a much-loved Halloween tradition. The practice of carving them began in Ireland in the 18th century, where turnips and large potatoes served as the original Jack-o-lanterns. Irish immigrants eventually brought the tradition to America, where they found turnips were less common, so they substituted them for pumpkins.
- Trick or treating is another Halloween tradition originating in Ireland. Back then, children and the poor would go from door to door to ask for food, kindling or money. They sang songs or offered prayers in return for food. Now, the custom of trick or treating for sweets is alive and well all around the world.
- The famous Irish Halloween Barmbrack is a bread with a twist. If ancient traditions are to be believed, the bread can forecast the future. Caution is required when biting into a warm slice of the Barmbrack as what charm the person finds inside their slice determines their future. They may find a ring which means they will be married in a year or a coin which predicts a lifetime of wealth, but if its a piece of cloth it may mean bad luck for life.
- The famous Walled City of Derry-Londonderry has become the most exciting Halloween hotspot in Europe after starting life as a simple fancy-dress party. The readers of USA Today even voted it as the number one Halloween destination in the world. Derry Halloween is now an unmissable, bucket list event, with people from around the world not to mention the otherworld flocking there to enjoy a spectacular festival fusing ancient myth and cutting-edge culture.
- The Puca Festival, a twenty-first-century Samhain celebration, is held in County Meath and neighbouring County Louth every year. Celebrating Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween, Pca festival events normally include an impressive re-enactment of the symbolic lighting of the Samhain fire, live music and performances, amazing light installations and more. This year, however, the celebrations will all be virtual. Join in the celebrations virtually here: https://www.pucafestival.com/
- The legendary spooky novel, Dracula, was written by the famous author Bram Stoker who was born in Ireland. His time in Dublin is said to have inspired his work. Each October, the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin celebrates the gothic, the mysterious, the thrill of Halloween, and delves into the legacy of one of Irelands most treasured authors. Join in the celebrations virtually here from 30th October 2nd November: https://bramstokerfestival.com/
Do you know which is which when it comes to Halloween? Test your ghostly knowledge with the Tourism Ireland quiz: https://go.irlnd.co/mcu32
For more information, visit: http://www.ireland.com/
Discover Ireland on social media:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/discoverirelandme
Instagram (Arabic) - https://www.instagram.com/discoverirelandme/?hl=en
Twitter - https://twitter.com/GoToIrelandME
About Tourism Ireland:
- Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
- Tourism is the island of Irelands largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing around 325,000 people across the island.
- In 2019, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of almost 5.8 billion.
- Tourism Irelands international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 23+ million visitors in 2019.
- Since January 2018, Ireland is now visa-free for UAE Nationals, meaning easier travel and easier access to the island of Ireland
See more at: www.tourismireland.com