Hi everyone, welcome back to the blog! This one's gonna be about Halloween and the merits of dressing up:
I find it interesting how Halloween differs from country to country. In Denmark we don't have our own Halloween traditions... So we mostly borrow from the Americans, - carve out pumpkins, dress up and go trick or treating, or have a Halloween party with friends and family. Personally I love costumes in general, so Halloween for me is a welcomed excuse to dress up as a pumpkin! (It's actually nicer than it sounds, have a look below). Unfortunately it doesn't turn into a beautiful Cinderella-ish ballgown at midnight... Oh well, a girl can dream...
Of course the Irish (as far as I understood) also lean on these American festivities. But I have recently learned of different traditions you follow (or used to) and some Halloween legends. My charming new Irish friends Claire and Emma have been telling me stories of how the Halloween traditions, now being popularized all over the world, originally came from Ireland. It originated from a Celtic festival called Samhain. On the night between this year and the next, people believed the veil/boundary between this world and the next was at its thinnest, meaning spirits of the deceased could cross over into our world. For this reason the people wore masks and costumes in order to hide their identity from malevolent spirits. They carved turnips into lanterns and made lots of noise, all in the hope of scaring away anything not of this world.
My lovely landlady Claire told me another story about Irish Halloween from her childhood. They too used to go door to door, but didn't use the phrase "trick or treat" (which is a later American addition) instead saying: "A penny for the Pùca?" The Pùca was a celtic folklore character, considered a bringer of both good and bad fortune. When the kids were out saying "A penny for the Pùca", they had to prepare a little song, poem or a joke. They wouldn't just get sweets (or more commonly back in the day money or nuts) just for wearing a costume, - they'd have to put in a bit more effort. This, in my opinion, is a wonderful tradition that I wanna bring back to Denmark! And maybe something you should remind yourself about in Ireland?..
I also learned from Claire how most people made their costumes themselves, often using binbags.
I understand why these days most people don't have time to do that (and I'm certainly not very talented on a sewing machine) but I think its a good point that Halloween costumes can be whatever you want them to be. It doesn't have to be something fancy or expensive, sometimes just the fact of dressing up and having fun with your friends is the most important.
Remember that this weekend in Dublin, The Bram Stoker Festival will take place! It's gonna be some fun, scary and interesting days with lots of activities. Also the big event on Monday the 30th is the Macnas Parade - my local friends have told me it's the highlight of the Halloween weekend, and will be a fantastic display of puppets, actors, dancers and all sort of creative types in brilliant costumes. Looking forward to seeing it myself! It will start at 6 pm on Moore Street in Dublin.
Have a very scary (and fun) Halloween everyone!!