Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Fanciful Twist Halloween Party - Irish Traditions

   Today's the day - the fourth annual Halloween Blog Party hosted by A Fanciful Twist. Head over there to check out all the rest of the part-goers and let the blog hopping begin!

Also for those of you stopping by I am having my very first giveaway happening October 31! Click HERE for details and how to enter!

   For my party post, I'm sharing some Irish Halloween traditions I've learned about.

The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, "All Hallowtide" - the "Feast of the Dead" when the dead could cross over and visit the mortal world. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of Winter.

   During the eighth century the Catholic Church designated the first day of November as "All Saints Day" - a day of commemoration for those Saints that did not have a specific day of remembance. The night before was known as "All Hallows Eve" which, over time, became known as Halloween.

   Below are some of the most notable Irish traditions:

   {*} Colcannon for dinner: Boiled potato, curly kale (a cabbbage) and raw onions are provided as the traditional Irish Halloween dinner. A recipe is listed below:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1lb 6oz/ 675g potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 oz/100g curly kale, chopped (or Spring cabbage if kale not available))
  • 1/2 cup scallions/spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions/spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick/100g butter
  • salt and pepper


  • Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked - when pierced with a sharp knife the potato is soft in the middle.
  • Blanch the curly kale in boiling water for one minute. Drain and reserve.
  • Chop half of the spring onions roughly and the other half finely. Add the roughly chopped scallions/ spring onions to the drained kale and pulse in a blender for 10 seconds.
  • Drain the potatoes and add the butter. When the butter has melted, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Add the kale mixture and mix.
  • Finally, add the finely chopped scallions/spring onions and season to taste.

   {*} The Ivy Leaf: Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. If not.....

   {*} The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out.

The tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born - the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.

   {*}  Snap Apple: After the visits to the neighbours the Halloween games begin, the most popular of which is Snap Apple. An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded. The first child to get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their prize. The same game can be played by placing apples in a basin of water and trying to get a grip on the apple without too much mess!

   {*} The Bonfire: The Halloween bonfire is a tradition to encourage dreams of who your future husband or wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a cutting of your hair into the burning embers and then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was one of the Celt 'fire' celebrations.

   {*} Blind Date: Blindfolded local girls would go out into the fields and pull up the first cabbage they could find. If their cabbage had a substantial amount of earth attached to the roots then there future loved one would have money. Eating the cabbage would reveal the nature of their future husband - bitter or sweet!
   Another way of finding your future spouse is to peel an apple in one go. If done successfully the single apple peel could be dropped on the floor to reveal the initials of the future-intended.

   {*} Anti-Fairy Measures: Fairies and goblins try to collect as many souls as they can at Halloween but if they met a person who threw the dust from under their feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged to release any souls that they held captive.

Month of Pumpkin

   Whipe up a new spread for bagels. Blend 3 ounces of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon.

Have a Happy and Festive Irish Halloween!


Linda said...

Hi, Thank you for sharing all the information. Very interesting indeed. Please visit me:

Little Miss Hungry said...

I didn't know some of those traditions - very cool! Especially the Apple Snap...I wonder which variation is harder to actually accomplish!

I do hope that you get a chance to visit my pumpkin carving party!

Happy Halloween!

afoodie said...

wonderful information. lovely presentation.

Lisa said...

thank you for a lovely party!! love all the traditions!
Happy Halloween
lisa by the bay

Mad Madam Mel said...

I love the old traditions, and try to incormerate as many as i can into my own practice :)

Alisa Noble said...

Thanks for sharing all of those interesting traditions!

Maggie said...

What a fun way to learn about the traditions and history of Halloween. Thanks for sharing all you have learned.

Anonymous said...

Great Irish traditions! Thank you for sharing!! If you are not to busy, please jump on your broomstick and come visit me.

Donna Patrice said...

I enjoyed reading about the Irish Halloween Traditions - thank you so much for sharing.

For some more spooky party stories, please stop by and visit for a little while:

Enjoy the rest of the weekend! Blessings!

Kathy said...

Oh! I loved all of this. I'll have to come back and re-read this. Just wonderful.

Stop by and visit me if you'd like. I'm having a give away.


Jennifer said...

Hi there! I loved your post as I am Irish and follow a pagan path. This is remarkable information and I am so glad you shared it for your party. So few people realize the origins of Halloween and I am glad you made your party about it!

Elle said...

interesting and very informative! thank you for sharing!!



Faerie Moon Creations said...

This was a fun and informative party post! Thanks very much. I have long held an interest in Celtic traditions. Thanks very much!

Please feel free to visit my party:

Enjoy the festivities! :) Theresa

Cameron said...

I loved learning about these traditions! Makes celebrating our traditions that much more special :)

rachelsmith133 said...

What great facts. Thanks for sharing them, I especially liked the one about the Jack O'Lantern.

Anonymous said...

Oooooo, LOVE Halloween with Irish Traditions. You know, I just saw the story about the history of Halloween, it was fascinating. And yes, it all began in Ireland.

Now I am hungry, and must try your recipe!!! Thank you so much for sharing such goodness!

♥ Vanessa {A Fanciful Twist}

Micupoftea~ said...

What fun to read about the origin of holiday traditions! Love the photos. Come have tea and treats with me~

Happy Halloween!

Joyce van der Lely said...

Oh thanks so much for sharing some of your recipes and Celtic secrets.
I had a ball at your party :)
Come visit mine
Happy Halloween

Lenora said...

Wonderfully educational! Love that! Thanks for all the info! I love traditions! We have worked many from Los Dias de los Muertos another Catholic Latin tradition inot our Family Graveyard and Memory wall.. do come and visit and add to the wall at our Halloween Party too!

LYNDY WARD said...

Enchanting PICs & Tales.
Please fly by my party when you can...
Hauntingly Yours, Lyndy >^..^<

Princess Diana's Wedding Ring Giveaway & Halloween Party:

Teresa said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comments!

I enjoyed learning about these Celtic traditions, especially the one about Jack-o-lanterns! Very interesting!

Thanks for sharing!

Blessed Be,
I Heart the Goddess

Wendy said...

What a wonderful time I had learning some of the Irish traditions. It was so interesting and Beautifully spooky.
Please come by and visit for A Mad Halloween Tea party and A Cup or two of Tea...We Would love to have you
Spells and Wishes
Wendy from Wonderland

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