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Dates of October Holiday (Halloween)
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|Ireland is believed to be the birthplace of the Halloween festival|
Although Halloween is on October 31st, in the Republic of Ireland it is celebrated as a public holiday on the last Monday in October.
This day became a bank holiday in 1977 and as it falls close to Halloween, it has become known as the Halloween holiday.
Ireland is believed to be the birthplace of the Halloween festival. The Irish tradition dates back to the eighteenth century.
Halloween takes its roots from the old Celtic festival Samhain Eve, when it was believed that the link between the worlds of living and dead was at its strongest. Some scholars believe that Samhain was the Celtic new year.
Many of the Celtic Halloween traditions live on in Ireland today and were brought to America by Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century.
Traditionally an Irish Halloween dinner will include boiled potatoes, cabbage and raw onions. Cleaned coins are wrapped in baking paper and hidden in the potatoes for the children to find and keep.
The barnbrack cake is traditionally served for dessert. It is a fruitcake that has a rag, ring and coin hidden within. The rag represents a doubtful financial future, the ring represents impending romance and happiness, and the coin represents prosperity. It is believed that the individual that finds the hidden treasure will also find that respective fate.
With the Chritianisation of Ireland, the traditional date of Samhain, 1 November, was the same as All Saints' Day. The traditions of Samhain Eve were allowed to continue, but 'rebranded' as All Hallow's Eve or Halloweve for short. Some consider the later establishment of All Souls' Day (Day of the Dead) as an attempt to replace the Pagan Halloween with a more Christian focused holiday.
The legend of the Jack O’lantern also goes back to the eighteenth century.
The legend is that an Irish blacksmith called Jack was denied entry to Heaven after he has was found to have colluded with the Devil. He was condemned to wander the Earth and his only light was a burning coal inside a hollowed out turnip. The villagers believed that placing a Jack O’lantern in their window would keep the damned soul of the wandering blacksmith away.
When the Irish immigrates arrived in America and tried to carry on the tradition they found there were not enough turnips and so they resorted to using pumpkins instead.