[Christine O’Keeffe’s Halloween Customs]
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Tine Calaine: Fireworks, Tine Cnámha: Bonfires   (pron. chin-eh col-an-eh, chin-eh knaw-vah)
Official community fireworks are held in Northern Ireland on Halloween. Bonfires are lit in Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Halloween Night. Wood is collected for the bonfire in advance. It can also be made of peat which is a special kind of moss that is burned. In gaelic a bonfire is called a coelcerth. On the Isle of Man it is called sauin. A charm of fire, water, salt, and iron is a cure to keep goblins away. Traditional incenses of the season are: apple, mint, nutmeg, sage, and heliotrope. Dundee Law, Kinnoull at Perth, Evelick Hill in the Carse, East & West Lomond, Hunter’s Hill at Glamis & Kirriemuir’s Catlaw all form links in a chain of fire. Caterthun, a 900 ft hill with a rampart of stones, is a gathering place. (3, 7)

Samhnag: Jack o’Lantern: Ancient Ones: Large orange turnips are hollowed out and made into a lanterns called Jack o’ Lanterns for Halloween. These turnips are the size of rutabagas. A face is carved onto one side by fathers and sons and a lighted candle is placed inside. They are supposed to scare evil spirits who come out after midnight and to light the way for the ancestral spirits who will be returning home at the midnight hour. (3, 4, 6, 9, 22)

Tá sé in am na coinnle a lasadh don tornap
(pron. thaw shay in om na quin-leh a loss-ah dhun thurnap)
It’s time to light the candles for the turnip.

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© 1998. Christine O’Keeffe, Ver. 3.0. Saturday, November 2, 2002