This picture is from Microsoft Clip Art
The information in this article comes from The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter, The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland (http://www.ireland-information.com). We thank them for putting out such detailed information to share with all of us.
The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, "All Hallowtide" (the "Feast of the Dead," when the dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration marked the end of summer and the start of the winter months, and 1 November began the Celtic New Year.
During the eighth century, the Catholic Church designated the first day of November as "All Saints Day" ("All Hallows'" -- a day of commemoration for those Saints that did not have a specific day of remembrance. The night before was known as "All Hallows Eve," which, over time, became known as Halloween.
Here are the most notable Irish Halloween Traditions:
Colcannon for Dinner: Boiled Potato, Curly Kale (a cabbage) and raw Onions are provided as the traditional Irish Halloween dinner. Clean coins are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the potato for children to find and keep.
The Barnbrack Cake: The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barnbrack, which is a fruit bread. Each member of the family gets a slice. Great interest is taken in the outcome as there is a piece of rag, a coin and a ring in each cake. If you get the rag then your financial future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting the ring is a sure sign of impending romance or continued happiness.
The Ivy Leaf: Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. If not. . . .
The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some
light. He was given a burning coal ember, which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out. Thus, the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born -- the bearer being the wandering blacksmith -- a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in their millions to America, there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.