Halloween has grown in popularity and is second only to Christmas in popularity. Halloween has ancient roots and was originally called Samhain, a Celtic holiday celebrating the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter time. The festival of Samhain was celebrated with mumming and guising, which was the practice of wearing costumes while going door to door reciting poems or songs in exchange for food or other treats.This tradition eventually became our modern day tradition of trick or treating. The Halloween tradition of jack-o’-lanterns is based on the Samhain tradition of carving turnips. Bobbing for apples was a common activity on Samhain, which is still practiced today on Halloween.
Ireland still celebrates the memory of Samhain in Halloween celebrations throughout the island. Derry hosts a yearly Halloween festival that has become the largest Halloween celebration in Ireland. The Derry Halloween festival runs from October 16 to November 1, with activities and celebrations for every age group. Dublin hosts the Bram Stroker Festival from October 25 to 28. The Bram Stroker Festival celebrates the life and work of the creator of Dracula in his hometown of Dublin. Bunratty Castle in county Clare is home to a Halloween celebration on October 28, which is popular with children of all ages. The Irish love to celebrate Halloween, and remember their historical connection to this popular holiday.