Books by Paul Francis Mc Cann
Remembering Events In Ireland at Haloloween .
Seasonal events like Halloween in Ireland provide an occasion to look back and appreciate an old culture even though it no longer is relevant .
Still old superstitions never die and the people of Ireland are one of the most superstitious nations on Earth . Even today Ireland is the only country where there is no school at Halloween .
In pagan times people believed that the dead revisited the earth at this time called "Oíche Shamhna".
At the end of Summer and the beginning of winter which is also known as the Celtic New Year large bonfires would be lit to ward of evil spirits .
I’ve also heard about salt being sprinkled in the hair of the children to protect against evil spirits. S
ome Irish mothers even placed candles around the babies cot and sprinkled cornflour in an effort to protect their child from evil spirits .
So from the mists of time in Ireland Halloween has emerged and still today it is celebrated in a welcome contribution to Irish community life .
Some cities in Ireland now have spectacular fireworks displays at Halloween .
The houses are decorated by hollowing out a turnips and placing a candle into the empty shell . Then a scary face would be carved into the turnip so the candlelight could flicker out of and dance around the walls .
Other decorations would be placed around in homes like a display of nuts and fruit and Irish breads and cakes .
It was said that in ancient times food was left out for the dead who would revisit the earth on Halloween .The food was a peace offering and if you left something out it would bring peace and harmony to your life .
Some of the events I remember growing up in Belfast are associated with a party every Halloween when w as kids would dunk for apples in sink half filled with water .
The an apple tied to a string and suspended from a hook in the ceiling we would try to bite the apple without the use of our hands . My Mother would make toffee apples and bake apple tarts with a thruppence put inside for good luck .
By Paul McCann
See my Mummy,
she is capable and handy.
See my Mummy can coat an apple
with candy .
My Mum is great ,
I am her toffee apple fan .
I love to see them apples sticking in the pan .
"Come and get your Toffee apples"
Mummy would shout .
as fast as wincey up the water spout.
As well as coins in tarts some other people would also place a ring inside a cake or tart . Getting the ring was a sure sign of romance on the horizon and continued happiness .
Then there would be the Belfast Bonfires that provided an opportunity for a social gathering with street competitions involving residents .
There were events like arm wrestles , guider or go cart races .
As the night went on people would sit around the bonfire telling ghosts stories and sharing jokes .
We as kids would dress up in costumes . There would be cowboys and clowns , ghosts and witches , nurses and nuns and priests and all kinds of kids in their dress up gear walking the streets adding a springboard to the social event called Halloween .
We would knock on doors in the neighbourhood and sing this little song ,
“Halloween is coming on and the goose is getting fat , would you please put a penny in the old mans hat . If you haven’t got a penny a halfpenny will do , if you haven’t got a halfpenny God bless you .:”
Most people would pass you a coin or two and I still can recall a man who gave me a half a crown . That was a fortune in those days and I have never forgot him for that God bless him whoever he was .
When people think of the dinners also around Halloween I can recall the trimmings around a little delight known as the spud or praties .
Sometimes spuds in silver foil were taken to the bonfire and placed at the edge the bonfire in the ashes where they would be removed after a few moments . They were cooked to perfection and passed around all who where gathered there and eaten .There was something special about being out on a crisp evening around the bonfire .
By Paul McCann
There’s always a chair no one needs
and there’s a door that’s no use anymore .
We’re looking for some wood ,
it’s Bonfire night and time we went knocking the door.
Hey missus do you see that old gate there we can we take it off your hands ?
The Belfast sky needs lit up tonight and that old gate there could be your mans.
There are flames that leap up from Belfast streets as a strange kind of magic glows .
Burnt toast and charcoaled spuds have a taste of their own ,why ?
Sure only God knows .
By Paul McCann
Web Site: ABC Tales
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