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Embassy of Ireland Press Release

Ambassador of Ireland delighted to see Ireland-origin festival, Halloween a huge hit in Japan!

Commenting on all the decorations and costumes celebrating Halloween, Ireland’s Ambassador to Japan, Anne Barrington, said: “It is wonderful to think that an ancient tradition in Ireland has found a home here. It is, I think, yet another sign of the fundamental similarities between Irish and Japanese traditions”.

The Ambassador explained:
“Many millennia ago the Celts celebrated the end of the harvest season. It was a time when it was believed that the souls of the dead would arise from their graves, wander the countryside and return into their homes. These souls took the form of ghosts, fairies, goblins and demons. The living left out food and drink to keep them happy. They dressed up to disguise themselves so the demons would not recognise them.

This Celtic custom of Halloween continues to be celebrated in Ireland, where it is known in our native language as Samhain. Christianity tried to change our belief in ghosts, fairies and demons but never succeeded fully. Then, with the great waves of emigration from Ireland in the middle of the 19th Century, Irish immigrants to the United States brought the custom with them.

Now, I am happy to see that this ancient tradition has spread to Japan. It is yet another link between our two great countries. I hope we can share with Japan our traditions and festivals on this holiday.

On the night when the souls of dead are said to stalk the land … I wish all in Japan a Happy Halloween”.