Friday, 31 October 2014

New Year's Eve

These days Halloween in Ireland is much as it is in my native USA, with children trick-or-treating from house to house. The only unusual aspect for us is that the houses are so far apart, so that we had a bit of walking -- and that there are no lights around us, so we had to walk with a torch (flashlight). Also, it's the rainy season here, and it started lashing as The Girl and her best friend ran the final lap through the darkness to our house.

 Here in our house, though, Halloween is a day to hang pictures of loved ones who have passed on recently, whom we still remember. It was New Year's Eve, in the old Celtic calendar, the day when the veil between worlds was thinnest -- the night for stories of ghosts and banshees, hence the origins of Halloween.

It was also a day to light fires to ward off the encroaching darkness, and in places it still is. Tonight, as I brought The Girl and her friend down the black country roads, we looked toward the Hill of Allen, an extinct volcano that rises out of the bog. It was completely black, but we knew where it was in the distance, and we saw a massive bonfire on its top, the forest glowing orange below it.

No comments: