DFA Logo

This content from the
Department of Foreign Affairs
has now moved to Ireland.ie/tokyo. If you are not redirected in five seconds, click here.

Skip to main content

Please be advised that the Embassy of Ireland, Japan website has moved and this page is no longer being updated. The Embassy website is now available at Ireland.ie/tokyo.

Ambassador of Ireland wishes everyone in Japan a Happy Halloween!

Halloween is an ancient Irish Celtic festival celebrating the end of the harvest season

Happy Halloween

‌Mr Paul Kavanagh, Ambassador of Ireland, recalls the Irish roots of Halloween.

“Halloween is an ancient Irish festival that happily in recent years has gone global, including here in Japan”.

“Halloween – or Samhain, in the Irish language, meaning summer’s end – was celebrated in Ireland by the ancient Celts for many thousands of years. The end of the harvest was marked with a special festival of fires, feasts and pagan ceremonies”.

According to ancient beliefs, Samhain is a time when the barrier between our world and the afterlife narrows, and the souls of the dead arise from their graves, wander the countryside and return to their “former” homes. These souls take the form of ghosts, fairies, goblins and demons. Irish Celts would leave out food and drink to keep them happy. People dressed up in scary costumes to blend in with and disguise themselves from the demons; thus attired, they visited neighbouring houses where they were given some sweets and ‘soul cakes’. As Christian beliefs came later to Ireland, these somehow co-existed with many different supernatural beliefs and the festival continued in popularity.

With the great waves of emigration from Ireland over past centuries, Irish people in huge numbers brought these Halloween traditions to the United States and elsewhere, leading to their worldwide popularity. In Japan too, people of all ages have embraced Halloween.

(c) Causey Farm

‌©Causey Farm

Halloween is still celebrated traditionally in Ireland. In homes around Ireland, children prepare for Halloween weeks beforehand, planning costumes and games. When the day comes, the evening meal includes a traditional cake, Barmbrack with some hidden surprise for a lucky person. A prize such as a ring will foretell a marriage. Traditional games and story-telling provide fun for all the family. Many communities plan a large bonfire for the dark wintry evening.

Famous festivals for Halloween also take place in the cities of Derry and Dublin and in County Meath, drawing large crowds, although recently these were cut back due to challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

(c) Puca Festival

‌©Púca Festival

The Ambassador continued: “Oíche Shamhna is a special night for people of all ages. Even if this year you are entering the spirit of Halloween at home; and whether or not you are dressed up in a scary costume to avoid the wandering sprits who stalk the land, ‘Happy Halloween’ , from Ireland, the Festival’s original ancient home!”


[Embassy website and social media]
Look at the Embassy’s social media platforms to see traditional Halloween stories, games and recipes throughout the month of October.
Website: http://www.dfa.ie/japan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IrishEmbJapan, https://twitter.com/IrishEmbJapanEN
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irelandinjapan
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/irelandinjapan/
Animated Halloween video: https://twitter.com/IrishEmbJapan/status/1451835795543842819

Home of Halloween

[Celebration at home in Ireland]
On Friday 22 October, Ambassador Kavanagh invited Mr Ken Hasebe, Mayor of Shibuya, to experience a traditional Irish home Halloween at home at the Embassy. Ambassador served traditional Irish barmbrack, showed videos of Halloween games, and guests enjoyed story-telling of Lafcadio Hearn’s ghost story Hoichi the Earless accompanied on the harp. The Embassy collaborated with Shibuya Tourism Association’s ‘Home Halloween’ campaign: http://play-shibuya.com/shibuyahalloween/


[Irish Halloween highlights in Japan]
Autumn Celtic Market (Saturday, 30 October 2021)
Venue: Toyosu Civic Centre
Organised by Music Plant, music, Irish animated film screening and specially imported Irish goods on sale to brighten your winter days!
Website: http://www.mplant.com/celticmarket/index.html

Celtic Market

Kyojin Irish Culture Week (Monday, 1 November – Friday, 5 November)
Venue: Online and Kyojin Stewhouse in Togoshiginza, Tokyo. Events include:
Grass-fed Irish Lamb Collaboration, virtual Brewery Tour (Belfast Lager?), Tasting & Conversation. Irish Nihonga Workshop: Introduction to “Animals from the Book of Kells” and Irish Ghost Story Reading by Yoko Watanabe.
Website: https://www.kyojin-company.com/Events/7th-kyojin-irish-culture-week

Kyojin Irish Culture Week

[Halloween events taking place in Ireland]
Spine-tingling festivals in the home of Halloween! As the land of ancient Celtic traditions, wailing banshees, haunted happenings, the creator of Dracula and tricks, treats and festivals galore, the island of Ireland is a bewitching destination at Halloween time.

National Museum of Ireland

‌©National Museum of Ireland


Derry Halloween (29-31 October 2021, Derry, Northern Ireland)
This event has become the most exciting Halloween celebration in Europe, with the readers of USA Today voting it as the number one Halloween destination in the world. Derry Halloween is now an unmissable, bucket list event, with people from around the world – not to mention the otherworld – flocking there to enjoy a spectacular festival fusing ancient myth and cutting-edge culture.
Website: http://derryhalloween.com/


‌©Gardiner Mitchell


Púca Festival (23-31 October 2021, County Meath and County Louth)
These counties in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East will celebrate Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween with music, storytelling, projection mapping, food and drink.
Website: https://www.pucafestival.com/

(c) Puca Festival

‌©Púca Festival


[Halloween Culture in Ireland]
Bram Stoker
The author of Dracula was born in Dublin. His achievements are celebrated throughout the city in Halloween season.
Dublin and Bram Stoker the author of Dracula: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/japan/news-and-events/newsarchive/dublin-and-bram-stoker-the-author-of-dracula-.html

Traditional recipes associated with Irish Halloween Barmbrack
Article: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/japan/news-and-events/newsarchive/barmbrack.html
Recipe video: https://youtu.be/65u4bZ5XxC8


Introduction to Halloween food
Article: https://ippin.gnavi.co.jp/article-11543/

Traditional Irish Halloween games
Apple bobbing and snap apple are popular games in Ireland.
Video: https://youtu.be/J-QzSZgXloE

Spirits and Ghosts in Ireland
Stories of the Púca, water horse, and the Banshee have been handed down.

(c)Allen Kiely Photography/Púca Festival

‌©Allen Kiely Photography/Púca Festival


[Media Coverage]
NHK Gretel no Kamado, ‘Ireland’s Halloween’
First on-air: Monday, 18 October 2021
Ambassador Kavanagh introduced Barmbrack. Available NHK on Demand until Monday, 1 November 2021.
Website: https://www.nhk.jp/p/kamado/ts/VNWVWYKX3Q/episode/te/R13W7W5QYG/
NHK on demand: https://www.nhk-ondemand.jp/goods/G2021116368SA000/

NHK Radio 1 Chikyu Radio, ‘Ireland’s Halloween’
On air: Sunday, 24 October 2021
Embassy joined Ireland National Tour Guide Naoko Yamashita to introduce Halloween in Ireland. Listen back until 8pm, Sunday, 31 October 2021 Website: https://www4.nhk.or.jp/gr/33/











ウェブサイト: https://www.dfa.ie/japan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IrishEmbJapan, https://twitter.com/IrishEmbJapanEN
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irelandinjapan
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/irelandinjapan
アニメーション動画「アイルランド ハロウィーン発祥の地」: https://twitter.com/IrishEmbJapan/status/1451835795543842819

10月22日(金)、長谷部健渋谷区長を大使公邸にお招きし、アイルランドにおける家庭でのハロウィーンの祝い方についてご紹介しました。バーンブラックやクッキーなどのお菓子、アップル・ボビングやスナップ・アップルといったゲームの動画、小泉八雲の著した怪談『耳なし芳一』の語りとハープの演奏をお楽しみいただきました。また、一般財団法人渋谷区観光協会のハロウィーン特設ウェブサイトには、アニメーション動画「アイルランド ハロウィーン発祥の地」とハロウィーンぬり絵をご掲載いただきました。
一般財団法人渋谷区観光協会のハロウィーン特設ウェブサイト: http://play-shibuya.com/shibuyahalloween/

会場:豊洲シビックセンター ホール(5F)、サブレクホール(7F)
ウェブサイト: http://www.mplant.com/celticmarket/index.html

グラスフェッド・アイリッシュラム コラボレーション、醸造所バーチャルツアー&試飲会・対談、日本画ワークショップ「日本画で描くケルズの書の動物たち」、渡辺洋子さんによるアイルランドのケルティック・ゴーストストーリーと小泉八雲の怪談話の朗読会を予定しています。
ウェブサイト: https://www.kyojin-company.com/Events/7th-kyojin-irish-culture-week


デリー・ハロウィーンは、アメリカの全国紙『USA Today』が実施した読者投票により「ハロウィーンに訪れたい場所世界No. 1」に輝き、ヨーロッパで最もワクワクするハロウィーンイベントの地位をゆるぎないものにしました。古代の伝説と最先端の文化が融合したこのフェスティバルは、異界からの死者の魂はもちろん、世界中の人たちをも魅了しています。
ウェブサイト: http://derryhalloween.com/ 

ウェブサイト: https://www.pucafestival.com/

ダブリンと『ドラキュラ』の作者ブラム・ストーカーについて: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/japan/news-and-events/newsarchive/dublin-and-bram-stoker-the-author-of-dracula-.html

記事: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/japan/news-and-events/newsarchive/barmbrack.html
レシピ動画: https://youtu.be/65u4bZ5XxC8

記事: https://ippin.gnavi.co.jp/article-11543

動画: https://youtu.be/J-QzSZgXloE


NHK Eテレ/総合「グレーテルのかまど」
ウェブサイト: https://www.nhk.jp/p/kamado/ts/VNWVWYKX3Q/episode/te/R13W7W5QYG/
NHKオンデマンド: https://www.nhk-ondemand.jp/goods/G2021116368SA000/

ウェブサイト: https://www4.nhk.or.jp/gr/33/


« Previous Item | Next Item »