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Púca Festival: celebrating Halloween in Ireland

Es ist wieder so weit: Geister, Vampire und Hexen ziehen von Haus zu Haus, auf der Suche nach Süßigkeiten – sonst gibt’s Saures für alle, die nicht mit den entsprechenden Naschereien aufwarten können. Halloween ist zwar aus den USA herübergeschwappt, kommt aber ursprünglich aus Irland. Und dort wird Samhain, das keltische Vorläufer-Fest des heutigen Halloween, noch heute gefeiert: beim Púca Festival im historischen Osten des Landes. Mehr über das Festival erfahren Sie hier.


By Franziska Lange

Enjoy the world’s scariest holiday in the place where it all began.

1                 Halloween may be celebrated in different parts the world on October 31, but it started around 2,000 years ago with the Celts in Ireland. Púca is a four-day festival filled with music, fire and light shows. This year it takes place in the towns of Trim and Athboy in the east of Ireland from October 28 to 31.

                The festival gets its name from a shape-shifting creature in Celtic folklore that is often associated with Samhain, the Celtic celebration that later became Halloween. The púca will give you good luck or bad luck, depending on his mood.

3                 At Púca Festival, stories are told and fires are lit, creating just the right atmosphere for a Samhain celebration. There are scary costumes and light shows. However, Púca Festival is not just dark and spooky: there are lots of events with musicians and comedians from all over Ireland, as well as acrobatic performances and street entertainment.

4                 You can also try foods of the season, like barmbrack. Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake served at Halloween that usually has something baked into it: if you find a ring, you’ll get married soon; find a coin and you’ll get rich.

                One of the highlights of the festival is the “Arrival of the Spirits”. People in Samhain masks walk through the streets of Trim, torch in hand. With their masks and costumes, the people in the procession look as if they’ve come straight from the old Celtic times, ready to scare off some ghosts.

6                 Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in old Irish, was a Celtic celebration at the end of the harvest season, which was also the end of the Celtic year. It was the last great gathering before the dark, cold winter, a time often associated with death.

7                 The Celts believed that the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred on the last night of the year. They thought that the souls of the dead and spirits from the Otherworld returned on Samhain. They left doors and windows open for the spirits of dead relatives and friends and left out food for them. To scare off evil spirits, the old Celts dressed up as animals and monsters and lit big fires on hilltops.

8                 Some of the Samhain traditions – like dressing up – live on in today’s Halloween. But to actually feel like you’re part of the original Samhain celebrations, Púca Festival is the closest you can get to travelling back in time. So put on your scariest costume, have a slice of barmbrack and join the celebrations!


0–1             Púca (Art) Gespenst — to celebrate feiern — scary gruselig — (the) Celts die Kelten — light show Lichtkunstveranstaltung — to take place stattfinden

2                 shape-shifting seine Gestalt verändernd — creature Kreatur; h.: Wesen — folklore Sagenwelt — to associate s.th. with … etw. mit … in Verbindung bringen — depending je nach — mood Laune, Stimmung

3                 to light anzünden; entfachen — to create schaffen — atmosphere h.: Stimmung; Ambiente — spooky gruselig — musician Musiker(in) — acrobatic performance akrobatische Vorstellung  

4–6             fruit cake Früchtebrot — coin Münze — to get rich (schnell) Reichtümer erlangen — spirit Geist — torch Fackel — procession Prozession; Umzug — to come straight from … direkt aus … kommen — to scare off … … in die Flucht schlagen — harvest season Erntezeit — gathering Zusammenkunft — death (der) Tod

7                 boundary Grenze — to become blurred verschwimmen — soul Seele — Otherworld das Jenseits; h.: keltische Anderswelt — relative Verwandte(r) — to leave s.th. out for s.o. jdm. etw. hinstellen — evil böse — to dress up as … sich als … verkleiden

8                 to live on weiterbestehen — actually tatsächlich — original ursprünglich — slice Scheibe; Stück

Foto: Pixabay