Friday, October 29, 2010
Hallowe'en officially is a holiday that originated in Ireland; however, at a recent dinner party (a fairly typical 2 pm on Sunday thing) we learned that in general people feel like Hallowe'en actually belongs to the USA.
Certainly there are many aspects of Hallowe'en that originate in Ireland... but in general the consumer sport that has become Hallowe'en has only just immigrated from America in the past few years. In fact a few of the guests had NEVER even carved a pumpkin before!
So, here's a brief telling of what I learned about Hallowe'en during that dinner party (with no Internet searching... so this is by word of mouth alone).
Everyone certainly trick'o'treated as children... well everyone that is, except Deirdre, who grew up in Belfast in the 70s (as she put it... they had enough fireworks without Hallowe'en). However, Deirdre (and everyone else) certainly participated in dressing up (homemade costumes, of course), playing various party games (bobbing for apples) and carving Jack O'Lanterns.
Now, if you've been paying attention you probably have realized the discrepancy in my information... Jack O'Lantern (Irish sounding name if you think about it) but no pumpkins... Well they carved really large turnips. Apparently it's a LOT harder than a pumpkin, and many spoons would be wasted by the effort. There's a story about Jack O'Lantern wandering around in the night with his carved turnip, but I don't know the punchline.
Anyways, in Ireland tricks are still part of the treating, so Nikolai may find himself being asked to do a trick in order to get his treat (perhaps he can show them how good he is at twirling until he's dizzy). Fireworks and egging abounds. But most of all Hallowe'en falls somewhere on a week of a national holiday (last Monday in October is a bank holiday, but all schools from preschool up to NUIM are closed for the week) so the festivities carry on all week.
And if you were to go to the local farmers market last weekend and try to buy kale (our fav) you may have been surprised to find that they'd all sold out. Colcannon (recipe below) and Barm Brack (regular tea brack is made for everyday, but barm brack is made with fortune telling charms) are traditional All Hallows E'en fare.
1. Make mashed potatoes with 1lbs of floury potatoes, 2 oz butter, 150 ml of cream or milk.
2. Shred, then steam until cooked 1/2 head of cabbage (or the more traditional kale)
3. Finely chop 6 spring onions (or the more traditional leek)
4. Mix together and season to taste! A yummy way to get your toddler to eat their greens.
The pic is from the playground in Kinsale; Brad practicing with different camera features. You'll just have to wait until after Hallowe'en to see what our ghoul dresses up as!