Tiziana Soverino – Ireland: A spookier Halloween?

Tiziana Soverino

Ireland: A spookier Halloween?


A spookier Halloween? 2020 Halloween celebrations in Ireland.
Halloween or Samhain, November 1st, is one of the Quarter Days of Irish tradition, alongside Saint Bridget’s Day (1st February), May Day (1st May), and Lúnasa (1st August). Samhain, marking the beginning of winter, has been a significant day in Ireland for centuries, at least since medieval times. More recently, many of the traditions associated with Halloween have been communal: lighting bonfires, going from house to house in disguise, and playing games. However, other traditions, such as divination and decorating houses, are not communal.
In 2020, Halloween fell during a strict lockdown due to a global pandemic: people from different households were not allowed to meet. Thus, many customs had to be abandoned, adapted, or carried out illegally. Clearly, the decoration of houses―a custom not involving mingling with others―was more widespread in 2020 than in the past. Another Halloween custom widely observed in 2020 was the setting off of fireworks and firecrackers.
Through a series of online surveys and interviews, the main trends of Halloween celebrations in Ireland in 2020 will be uncovered. The principal changes between Halloween celebrations in pre-pandemic and pandemic times will be investigated, as well as the extent to which the pandemic has affected the promotion of social cohesion.

Biography of the author:

Tiziana Soverino has been teaching Irish Folklore for over ten years, and also worked as a Folklore Lecturer in University College Dublin, Ireland. She holds an interdisciplinary PhD in Irish Folklore and Early Irish, and an MLitt in Irish Folklore. Her research interests include festivals, folk medicine, place-lore, social justice, and open education. Her articles have appeared in international peer-reviewed journals such as Folklore (2020) and Estudios Irlandeses (2020).