Halloween in the U.S. - The Irish influence

Irish Canadian

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I was not aware of how much influence the Irish have had on this day. Halloween is getting bigger and bigger every year here. A neighborhood I lived in for 15 years, called "The Annex", puts more effort into Halloween than Christmas. I don't mean a little more, I mean much more. Christmas is almost dead in that area now, but Halloween is huge. Sign of the times I guess.
San Francisco Sentinel Blog Archives IRISH HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS: Food, Costumes and Anti-Fairy Measures


There is also a video they posted called "Learn Irish Language". It's very funny.
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo96H1-POY8]YouTube - Speaking Irish Language[/ame]
 


raetsel

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I'm slightly surprised that this thread, commenced 9 years ago, didn't get off the ground though I'm a lot more surprised that it seems to have passed over the heads of our American cousins that the Halloween tradition was imported from Ireland, and I believe Scotland as well. Even more surprisingly still our neighbours to our immediate east see Halloween festival as purely an American tradition. In fact earlier I was listening to the Jeremy Vine radio show on the BBC which had a feature on the festival, which prompted a lot of complaints about it, for various reasons including one caller whose grumble seemed to be rooted in the perception of American cultural annihilation on British traditions. Though some callers had perfectly valid complaints about how menacing "trick or treat" has become over there.

The Halloween traditions in Ireland and Scotland from region to region might make an interesting study.

Here in the north as kids growing up in the 1960's there were a number of fun aspects to the evening. Kids dressed up in costumes and worse masks and went from door to door reciting a rhyme and maybe sang a song or too in the hope of being rewarded with apples, pears nuts and the like. There was no such thing as "trick or treat" as such. However older boys would separately engage in usually fairly harmless pranks e.g. a common one was to find a house with a summer seat out front and carry it down the street and leave it outside a neighbouring house maybe 50 yards away. I'd guess those two separate traditions were conflated when they reached the USA. Back in the 60s kids still carved out jack o'lanterns out of turnips which of course were very difficult to work with and not nearly as amenable to the task as pumpkins which were unavailable back then.
Here in the north we also, back in those days, had easy access to fireworks which were legal here until the outbreak of the troubles and every household with children had its own display in those days. Thankfully fireworks can now only be bought with a permit which costs money, which has limited the misuse of them which inevitably happened in the past.
I'd be interested to know how Halloween was celebrated elsewhere around Ireland, particularly back in the 1950's and 60s.
 

Rural

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A good piece by Michael Fortune (from hereabouts) in The Journal.ie about the very thing.

'Only for Hallowe

"From earliest times, dressing up at Hallowe’en was always about disguise and people not knowing who you were. As a child in rural Wexford in the 1980s disguising yourself was the true excitement behind the night. However, with the advent of costumes in the States during the 1960s, the fad of fancy dress developed, making its way here where it became widespread. Curiously we are now imitating a skewed version of what was once our own tradition."
 

raetsel

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I see now why it didn't take off last time - it is off topic, so doesn't get the same anount of views as a thread on the main board. Oh well..................that was a bit of a waste of my time!:)
 

silverharp

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Face mask and obtain a booty of apples and nuts , to get a piece of chocolate was rare. then get your supply of "English bangers" or "French bangers" and have the lols.

In retrospect the bonfires are a rotten tradition in cities, I have a vague memory of some bonfires being in streets in the 80's but maybe hallucinating.
 

raetsel

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A good piece by Michael Fortune (from hereabouts) in The Journal.ie about the very thing.

'Only for Hallowe

"From earliest times, dressing up at Hallowe’en was always about disguise and people not knowing who you were. As a child in rural Wexford in the 1980s disguising yourself was the true excitement behind the night. However, with the advent of costumes in the States during the 1960s, the fad of fancy dress developed, making its way here where it became widespread. Curiously we are now imitating a skewed version of what was once our own tradition."
That last sentence is certainly true, not that it is unique in that sense. I don't know how the fairly recent fad for Irish dancers wearing those grotesque wigs came about, but I suspect that it may well have come from America as well.
 

statsman

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Face masks, red hair, scary; what could be more Irish?

 

raetsel

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Fascinating. I wasn't aware of that site, but I stopped at Tara not too far away during the summer on my way home from a break in Kilkenny.
An excavation dig at the site would be interesting. Have any been done? Is the belief in the origins of Samhain based on tradition or is there more concrete evidence available, because it obviously dates back to pre-history.
 

Niall996

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Now if we could just for once put some decent creative marketing machinery behind it we could make it a huge tourism goldmine for Ireland and a very cool cultural event.
 


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