Halloween in times of pandemic: How can we celebrate the traditional Irish holiday this year?


Pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and parties are some of the things that flood the streets of many countries this weekend. However, this traditional holiday is originally from Ireland and was born around 100 AD. This festival was known by the name of Samhain (end of harvest or end of summer) and it was a pagan festival celebrated by the Celts. The party has been adapting to the customs of each era. But, in the middle of a pandemic and with a second lockdown… How can we celebrate this party in 2020?

The Irish origin of the Halloween party

As we have already mentioned, Halloween night dates to 100 years after Christ and its popular name was Samhain. In this festival, the ancient Celts were responsible for storing all possible provisions and sacrificing livestock to prepare for the winter season.

On the other hand, it was believed that that same night of Samhain, the spirits returned from the dead to visit the world of the living. For this same reason, the Irish inhabitants lit large bonfires that chased away evil spirits. And this is how the popularly known Halloween party arose throughout the world.

The beings that the pagan Celts feared the most during this night were goblins, spirits, shadows, and ghosts. They believed that on the night of the 31st they came to the world of the living to torment them. Some of those bonfires that were made to scare them away took place on the top of Tlachtga or on Ward Hill (now County Meath). The latter continues to be one of the most important focuses of celebration of this Irish festival. This is where the Púca Festival is held.

How was Halloween celebrated until now?

Over the years, this festival has been changing and adapting to the customs of its inhabitants. In Ireland it is very popular and preserves many traditions and legends related to Halloween.

Some of the most popular are:

  • Costumes that cause fear among others (some of them are very elaborate).
  • Pumpkins are emptied and lanterns are placed inside in practically every house.
  • You eat the traditional sweet barm brack.
  • The famous Trick or Treat in which children knock from door to door asking for candy.
  • Bonfires.
  • The typical Colcannon dish is also eaten.
  • And you play Snap Apple.

These are some of the most popular traditions during the terrifying night of Halloween. However, with a second lockdown this year, what can we do to have fun while complying with safety regulations?

Halloween 2020: a different trick or treat

On October 22, 2020, the Government of Ireland announced that, to deal with the coronavirus, they were going to lockdown the entire country again. This was the first country in Europe to make this tough decision.

Some of the measures that have been brought are:

  • Non-essential shops close for six weeks.
  • Only take away food will be served in restaurants and fast foods.
  • Citizens must stay at home and can only travel a maximum of 5km to work or exercise.
  • Schools remain open.

To prevent a Christmas lockdown, this decision has been made. Although this year is going to be a little different, it does not have to stop celebrating, especially if there are children at home. Remember that it is important that you support local businesses and buy in the closest stores. In these moments, businesses need you and, by buying from them, we will prevent them from disappearing.

Some of the actions that can be done are costume parties (both among the cohabitants and by video calling with friends and voting for the best costume). If your children are excited to play Trick or Treat you can create a new game inside the house in which their contestants pass a test, they win a candy. In addition, the traditional Halloween recipes and the Snap Apple game can continue to be celebrated, as well as prepare the most terrifying decoration of the whole street.

On the other hand, you can look for legends about this party and tell them at home. Some of them are very scary! However, you have the possibility to follow it digitally from your home: spooky tales, music sessions, online tutorials and bring back to life some ghosts who tell us about the history of Samhain. Enjoy the most terrifying night of the year! (But always safely and staying in your homes).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.