Oíche Shamhna

Among Celts, Samhain celebrated the end of summer, the harvest and the dead. Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, to decide which animals would need to be slaughtered, with the bones of slaughtered animals being thrown on huge fires (thought to be the origin of the word bonfire, from bone-fire).

Like many pagan feasts, this thanksgiving-like festival was later absorbed by the church and became "All Hallows' Day". The evening before, All Hallows' Even, is what we now know as Halloween.

Snap-Apple Night, painted by Irish artist Daniel Maclise in 1833, inspired by a Halloween party in Blarney. The catalogue caption read:

There Peggy was dancing with Dan
While Maureen the lead was melting,
To prove how their fortunes ran
With the Cards ould Nancy dealt in;
There was Kate, and her sweet-heart Will,
In nuts their true-love burning,
And poor Norah, though smiling still
She'd missed the snap-apple turning.
On the Festival of Hallow Eve.

Happy Halloween!
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