Irish Halloween Traditions

Here in Ireland we still celebrate Halloween on October 31st every year and although it's not as strongly appreciated as it was when I was a child it's a massive celebration around the country.
 Growing up in Ireland Halloween was one of the most anticipated days of the year, a night to step into costume, go to parties, gorge on sweets but these days it's all down to the individual and how they choose to celebrate the greatest day of the year.
 For me my Halloween traditions begin in early October when I begin stocking up on Halloween decorations, I begin planning which events I'll attend over the Halloween period and I'll talk non stop about the day until it finally arrives. I'll go pumpkin shopping, I'll carve a Jack O'Lantern, I'll decorate the house and when the day arrives there'll be hours of getting my house / myself ready before we kick off the party and that's my tradition every single year and it'll never change however here are ten celebrations that are still celebrated around the country on Halloween.

1. The Bonfire -
In a piece coming soon I'll explain the reason why we do associate bonfires with Halloween and where the history came from but something is dying down but currently on going throughout Ireland is a great big bonfire on Halloween night.
When I was younger 'collecting' for the bonfire went on months in advance the town divided into three groups and each group had their own bonfire and the unwritten competition of which side of the town had the biggest bonfire was a serious matter.
The boys of each 'group' would as I said go 'collecting' gathering anything they could from old tires to people's old furniture and around 5pm every Halloween the bonfire would be lit. It was one of my favourite traditions in the town but unfortunately bonfires don't really take place here anymore. They do throughout Ireland but in a small town in Tipperary they've come to a halt. 

2. Fireworks - 
They come hand in hand with the traditional bonfire but every year without fail you'll hear and see fireworks exploding in the sky and it's one of the things that used to scare me more than anything in the world I'm not even kidding but it's still one of my favourite Halloween traditions. Once you hear those explosions you know Halloween is here.  

3. Decorations-

As you can see from the picture of my house above decorating your home for Halloween is something that's still ongoing throughout the country and it's my favourite Halloween tradition without a doubt. 

4. Trick Or Treating-
Trick Or Treating or as I referred to it growing up as 'going on the boogie' is unfortunately also one of those traditions that's dying out across the country. Back when I was a child you'd have nearly 100 children coming to your door but these days you'd be looking to get five or six. It was the best part of Halloween as a child so it's definitely something I hope stays around for years to come.

5. Costumes - 
Dressing up on Halloween is one of the oldest Halloween traditions that there is and something I feel very strongly about. If someone tells me they aren't dressing up for Halloween I get an awful shock and do whatever I can to convince them that dressing up is not an option and it's something I'll be doing for the next 60 years without a doubt!!

6. Bairín Breac - 
The barn brack is a sweet fruit cake that admittedly I've never ever liked, I hate sultanas and raisins and any dried fruit like that but that being said it wouldn't be Halloween without one. The special part of these cakes is the little ring in them. Legend has it that the person to find the ring will be married first...I'm still waiting. 

7. The Pumpkin - 
Carving pumpkins are one of my favourite Halloween activities and it's only in recent years I've started calling them 'Jack O'Lanterns' the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns actually comes from Ireland so the tradition of pumpkins are definitely here to stay. 

8. Snap Apple -
I grew up with the game snap apple and it's a game still played around Ireland on Halloween every year. It's the simplest but funnest game known to man and all it entails is hanging an apple from a door frame with a string. Each players hands are then tied behind their back as they try and grab the apple with their me it's so much more fun than it sounds. 

9. Bobbing For Apples - 
Another game I grew up with is bobbing for apples and is still so popular amongst Irish children at Halloween.This game is so simple, even simpler than snap apple as all you do is fill a basin with water, drop in a few apples (some with coins in them) and you try pull them out using your mouth..simples!! 

10. The Halloween Party
And finally the last Irish Halloween tradition is the beloved party and it's without a doubt my favourite Halloween tradition, I've grown up having parties and going to them and having the party on Halloween is something that will never, ever change. 

And there you have it ten Halloween traditions that are still going strong around Ireland, it's the greatest day of the year without a doubt and they're traditions that I'll most definitely be carrying on for generations to come 

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