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The origin of Halloween in Ireland

Part 1 about Halloween in Ireland, started in our last post.

With spreading of Christianity, the church did not want to recognise pagan holidays, but in order to somehow turn these feasts to the Christian tideway, in the seventeenth century, the Pope confirmed the 1st on November to be the All Saints’ Day. By the way, Sir Arthur Guinness called the church, which was built on his money, the All Saints’ Church.

Irish people do not forget their traditions and widely celebrate them using Halloween for this purpose. That is why, unlike celebration Halloween in other countries, on this day in Ireland, they light live fire, which is made by teenagers a bonfire, very often of stately proportions, which bring a great deal of trouble for firemen on this day.

halloween decoration in Ireland

But the main attribute of Halloween is the Jack’s lantern, cut from a pumpkin. According to the legend, an Irish smith, Jack, was a great drunkard, gambler and sinner. Once when arguing with the devil, he won a bet and took his promise not to put his soul into the hell after his death. The devil fulfilled his promise and did not take his soul into the hell, but his soul didn’t get into paradise either.

halloween decoration

From that time, the Jack’s soul had to wander between hell and paradise, lighting its way with pieces of coal. In order to maintain the light of the coal pieces, they were put into a lantern of pumpkin. And now the pumpkin lanterns symbolize the gladness of sinner souls and are inalienable attribute of the Halloween feast.

Handing down the legend, ancient Celts cut funny and scaring masks for lanterns of turnip and potatoes. But it proved to be much easier to do it of pumpkins that was the reason of so widely spread use of pumpkin lanterns for Halloween.

halloween decoration

At present, before the feast of Halloween, many shops sell pumpkins which are gladly bought by Irish people. They kept the tradition to generously treat children wearing decorated costumes, who knock on doors and say: “Trick or treat!”

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