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Ireland Home of Halloween

Ireland Home of Halloween

©Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

Mr Damien Cole, Ambassador of Ireland, wishes everyone in Japan a Happy Halloween and recalls the Irish roots of Halloween.



Halloween… an ancient Irish Celtic festival

“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”.

Ancient Irish beliefs, which travelled around the world

According to ancient Irish 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 and thus attired, would visit 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, ancient 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.

The Ambassador continued: “ ‘Oíche Shamhna’ is a special night for people of all ages and Japan is one of the countries celebrating this festival on a large scale.We do hope Japanese people will enjoy learning about our authentic Halloween culture.‘Happy Halloween’, from Ireland, this festival’s original ancient home!”


Bram Stoker Festival

Bram Stoker Festival ©Tourism Ireland


Further Information

Halloween celebrations in Ireland today, festivals, special food and games for children
Halloween is still celebrated traditionally 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 in Ireland

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!

Bram Stoker Festival (27-30 October 2023, Dublin)

Website: https://www.bramstokerfestival.com/


[Reference] Dublin and Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula

The author of Dracula Bram Stoker was born in Dublin. His achievements are celebrated throughout the city in Halloween season.

Púca Festival (27-31 October 2023, County Meath)

Website: https://www.pucafestival.com/

Derry Halloween (28-31 October 2023, Derry, Northern Ireland)

Website: http://derryhalloween.com/

Derry Halloween

Derry Halloween ©Tourism Ireland


Halloween Culture in Ireland

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

Animated videos telling stories of Irish spirits and ghosts - Water Horse, Headless Coach, Sídhe, Púca and Banshee - are available on our social media. Stay tuned!

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
X: @IrishEmbJapan, @IEAmbJapan
Facebook: @irelandinjapan | Instagram: @irelandinjapan
Animated Halloween video: https://youtu.be/HmZcEzYjZyU








コール大使はこう続けます。「Oíche Shamhna(イーヒャ・ハウナ、アイルランド語で「ハロウィーン」)の夜は、あらゆる年代の人たちにとって特別なものです。日本はハロウィーンを盛大に祝ってくださる国のひとつということで、ぜひ日本の皆様にもハロウィーンの本場の文化について楽しく学んでいただけたらと思います。ハロウィーン発祥の地アイルランドから皆様へ、ハッピー・ハロウィーン!」




ハロウィーンは、今でもアイルランド各地の家庭で伝統的に祝われています。子どもたちは何週間も前からハロウィーンの仮装やゲームの準備をします。ハロウィーン当日の夕食では、伝統的なパン(フルーツケーキ)「バーンブラック」を切り分けて食べ、出てきたアイテムでその人の運勢を占います。 また、家族全員で伝統的なゲームや読み聞かせを楽しみ、 多くのコミュニティでは、冬の暗い夜に大規模な焚き火を予定しています。



ウェブサイト: https://www.bramstokerfestival.com/

ウェブサイト: https://www.pucafestival.com/


Puca Festival

Púca Festival ©Tourism Ireland‌

ウェブサイト: http://derryhalloween.com/


小説『ドラキュラ』の作者ブラム・ストーカーは、ダブリンで生まれました。ハロウィーンには、街中で彼の功績が称えられます。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

Barmbrack ©Tourism Ireland 

Barmbrack ©Tourism Ireland


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

動画: https://youtu.be/J-QzSZgXloE


ウェブサイト: https://www.dfa.ie/japan
X: @IrishEmbJapan, @IrishEmbJapanEN
Facebook: @irelandinjapan | Instagram: @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/1714053607195021557

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