In Ireland, we celebrate Halloween on 31st October each year. It is a very old festival and dates back to the time of the Celts.
They believed that the souls of the dead visited Earth on the last day of October. They held a festival to celebrate and called it Samhain. They believed that if they dressed up in scary costumes they would frighten away the souls of the dead who were wandering around the world on that night. They left food in an area away from their villages and hoped the souls would take the food and stay away from the people in the villages.
There are many traditions associated with Halloween. In Ireland, long ago, people carved out turnips to scare away these wandering souls. During the Famine, many thousands of Irish people emigrated to America on the ‘Coffin ships’. Those who survived and set up home there, brought their Irish customs with them – among them the tradition of carving turnips at Halloween. They discovered that Pumpkins which grew in America were much easier to carve. Over the years, trade developed between Ireland and America and many other countries. Pumpkins could then be bought in Ireland and returning emigrants brought the custom of carving pumpkins to Ireland.
Many years later, the Catholic Church decided to celebrate the feast of ‘All Saints’ on 1st November. It was also called “All hallows day” as hallow means holy. 31st October was known as the Eve of All Hallows or Hallows Eve. This eventually changed to Halloween.
Halloween Celebrations 2018
This school year we celebrated Halloween on 25 October. On this day everyone dressed up in their scariest Halloween costume. This is always one of our favourite days in the school year. As is tradition we took off on our Witch Walk all the way to Huntington Castle. We went inside for a spooky tour of the castle. It was very dark and scary! We are so lucky to have Huntington Castle on our door step! Thank you to the Durdin Robertson family! We also had a very entertaining assembly with songs and poems about ghosts and witches.
Halloween Celebrations 2017
Our school was a haven of witches, vampires, ghosts, goblins, and many other scary creatures on 27 October 2017 as pupils and teachers dressed in their “Halloween Best”! There was great excitement in the schoolyard that morning as friends waited to see who would arrive next and what costume they would wear. The annual walk to Huntington Castle was a great success and thanks to Alex and Clare for inviting us into the Castle to experience the Halloween setting. Afterwards the children enjoyed playing on the Castle lawn. Back in school, we enjoyed our special Halloween assembly and every classroom entertained us with songs and poems. There was just about enough time for us all to go back to our classrooms and participate in some traditional Halloween games before everyone headed home to enjoy the midterm break.
In the evening the Parents Council organised a fun Halloween party from 5 to 7pm in Ben Mulhall Complex in Clonegal. The DJ was brilliant and everyone danced to the music. There were lots of prizes given away for the best dancers and the best-dressed children.