Traditional Halloween Pranks and Divination


About this Item

Different Halloween traditions in urban and rural areas, with practical jokes played in the West of Ireland.  

  • Title
    Halloween Traditions in Urban and Rural Ireland
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Marian Richardson (Presenter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    Morning Ireland
  • Clip title
    Traditional Halloween Pranks and Divination
  • Extended description

    Folkorist Barbara O'Flynn tells Marian Richardson about the different ways Halloween is celebrated in urban and rural areas. She says bonfires and trick or treating are customs associated with the eastern half of Ireland, but they are now spreading throughout the country. Halloween was traditionally marked in the West of Ireland by playing practical jokes, like throwing cabbage against people's doors or switching gates on farms.

    Divination is still widely practised, with four plates used to foretell death, marriage, prosperity or travel. The return of the dead remains a big part of Halloween, and an example of the overlapping of Christian and pagan traditions, which is seen throughout Irish folkore.

  • Information

    'Morning Ireland' is RTÉ's breakfast news programme broadcast each weekday morning between 7am and 9am on RTÉ Radio 1. The programme was first broadcast in 1984. The programme is co-presented and over the years presenters have included David Hanly, Joe Little,Áine Lawlor, Cathal Mac Coille, Rachael English and Gavin Jennings.

    Halloween (a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening) is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day incorporates traditions from pagan harvest festivals and festivals honouring the dead, particularly the Celtic Samhain.

    The accompanying image of the full moon was taken by Dominic McManus in 1985. © RTÉ Stills Library 0735/040

  • Local keywords
    Halloween, Samhain, Folkore, Halloween traditions, Halloween customs, East of Ireland, West of Ireland, Urban Ireland, Rural Ireland, Divination, Fortune-telling, Return of the Dead, Ghosts, Christian Ireland, Pagan Ireland, Barbara O'Flynn, Marian Richardson
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    National Holidays, Festivals, Anniversaries, Annual Events
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
    RTÉ Radio One
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
  • Item sound
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)