Friday, 31 October 2014

Origins of Halloween

Did you know that Halloween originated in Ireland?

It has its roots in the pagan festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the harvest and it was an important fire festival in Ireland, celebrated on the 31 October and throughout the following day. The flames of old fires had to be extinguished by the druids and ceremonially re-lit to begin the new cycle or year.

It was a time when all the crops had been gathered and placed in storage for the long winter ahead and when livestock would be brought in from the fields and selected for slaughter or breeding. The bonfires were also used as part of the slaughter ceremonies.

Samhain was a time when the souls of the departed would return to their family homes and when potentially malevolent spirits were released from the Otherworld and visible to mankind. It was a night when banshees, fairies and other spirits could come and go quite freely. 

To ward off the evil spirits, people wore masks and disguises which has since become our modern day costume tradition for Halloween.

Lights were placed outside houses to further protect against spirits and later, in America, pumpkins were carved with scary faces and lit with candles to ward off evil.

The Druids used to collect gifts of food from local villagers and it is said it was better to provide a gift or 'treat' rather than run the risk of a curse or 'trick' which has since transformed into  the family trick or treating today. Excavations at the Hill of Tara produced evidence that Samhain was celebrated as far back as 3000BC before the Celts even arrived in Ireland and later it coincided with All Hallow's eve, the evening before All Saints Day which was eventually where the name 'Halloween' came from. 

In Galway we celebrate a Galway Aboo Festival starting on the Bank Holiday weekend before Halloween. The Macnas Parade is a popular highlight each year with giant puppets, restless stilt walkers, crowds of themed followers and pyrotechnics combine to create a street spectacle that wows and amazes locals and visitors alike.

Join us at the g Hotel & Spa for a hauntingly fantastic Halloween with bewitching martinis & vampiric spirits. Our spooky mixologist will brewing up a cauldron of tasty beverages for our guests.  

Try our Dracula's Kiss Martini with black vodka or our Pumpkin Perfection on the rocks combining Hennessy with orange juice and ginger ale or the refreshing Captain's Blood Punch with vodka, pomegranate, lime and cranberry.

We also offer a Spooktacular Afternoon Tea with savoury sandwiches, freshly baked scones, pastries and Halloween themed sweet treats such as white chocolate ghosts, spiced pumpkin cake, orange macaroons and baked chocolate & pumpkin pie. Afternoon Tea is served 3pm - 5pm Monday to Friday and 1pm - 5pm on weekends. Served with your choice of hot beverage, Afternoon Tea at the g is €26 for one and €46 for two guests. Email to book.

Happy Halloween!

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