Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oiche Samhain

I have the apples and nuts at the ready for the Púca (Celtic fairy folklore creatures, who arrive after dark). As a child, my sisters, cousins and I, we went from house to house with a carved turnip, we wore capes or large coats, and sang old Irish songs or recited poetry. My mother made a Barm Brack, a dried fruit bread which contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. The bread was sliced and each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, "to beat one's wife with", would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year. We played "bobbing" in a basin of water for apples or coins. A game whereby you were only allowed to use your mouth, your hands had to be placed behind your back. We usually finished off the evening telling ghost stories.

Now most people here in Ireland celebrate Halloween, wearing masks and costumes, children go on "trick or treat" visits. The turnips have been replaced by pumpkins (much easier to carve) and the Barm brack only contains a ring.

Whether you celebrate Samhain or Halloween, have a great one!

Big hugs,



Annie said...

And to you too Margie :D In Wales we traditionally celebrate Nos Galan Gaeaf on October 31st, spirit night, the night before Calan Gaeaf, the first day of winter.

Vee said...

How interesting to read about your traditions not so long ago. Wonder what caused such a change in such a short amount of time. I'd not have liked receiving some of those tokens and am glad that now only the ring is represented, but it is fascinating to know about all the others.

My 4 Lil' Girls said...

Sounds just like our family halloween growing up, lots of fun :D
Am recovering pretty fast from the op, thanks for asking Margie.
Have a sweet weekend
lots of love Karen x

Cait O'Connor said...

I have been catching up here Margie and I love all your posts. and your knitting projects are so beautiful. Enjoy Halloween/Samhain tomorrow, I wish I could be there, perhaps my broomstick will go that far? I wish......

Nancy Lee said...

Hi Margie!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! I so enjoy visiting you on your blog. Here in Canada we are loaded up with faerie sized chocolate bars to handout tomorrow night. I've made some smiley felt ghosts that go over tomato cages. I've stuck them in the garden and they light up at night. Spooky, but not terrifying for the little ones. I didn't carve a pumpkin this year. I have a battery-operated light up one, sporting a feather boa. Frankly, Samhain sounds like waay more fun! Cheers!

LuLu Kellogg said...

Margie I LOVED reading about what you did as a child. I just find it all fascinating!

Sending Merriment on this Happy Scary Day!


Vicki Lane said...

I love hearing the old celebration ways! Too bad that modern culture (and television) is doing its best to turn us into one big homogenous mass.

Deborah said...

thank you for sharing your childhood memories of Halloween. We had a nice evening for Trick or Treat.