Samhain

Recently on the Irish Knitters’ Group on Ravelry a North American poster was telling us that he’d be visiting Ireland during Hallow-e’en and wondering if we celebrated it at all here. I had to sit on my hands not to post back (in a jokey-way, of course) that we flippin’ invented it and don’t let the Bean-Sí hear ya!

I suppose, considering Hallowe’en decorations only started being sold in Ireland in the past few years and the concept of decorating your house for the occasion is relatively recent, we don’t really “celebrate” it as a holiday in the same way as we celebrate Christmas.

As kids we were never allowed to go door-to-door; we stayed home and played bobbing-for-apples or the one where you tied an apple from a string and you had to try to bite it with your hands behind your back – not easy! Where DH & I used to live, closer to Dublin City Centre, the fireworks (which are illegal here, by the way – not that you’d know it) would start in September and you’d feel like you were living in a war zone for 6 weeks. These days, our kids get very excited about dressing up for Hallowe’en. In fact, I’ve banned them from talking about their Hallowe’en costumes until October 1st – otherwise they’d be at it all year!

DH was teasing me that I have a “Bah-humbug” attitude towards the Festival – he can talk: Not long after we started dating he convinced me to throw a Fancy-dress Hallowe’en Party at my flat. It was ’96 and 31st October fell on a Thursday, so we held the party on the Friday night, 1st November. There I was in Slattery’s of Rathmines, all dressed up as a Devil. Did anyone else come in Fancy Dress? NO! Was I asked by complete strangers why I was a day late for Hallowe’en? Of course. Did his nibs show up? Not to the pub and not in fancy dress! Did I marry him anyway, four years later? Surprisingly, yes!

However, this year I had a treat and surprise that made it the best Hallowe’en for me in yonks. Brigdet, a friend I’ve made through knitting and blogging sent me a parcel:

It was a prize I wonfor guessing where she was on holidays. It was fun just opening the box and unwrapping the contents: first off there was a Hallowe’en card. If such things have hit our shores & stores, I’ve yet to see them. This had the kids intrigued: the eye-holes of the pumpkin on the front line up with the eyes of the cat on the inside. Then there was the Hallowe’en themed zip-loc bag, inside of which there was a bag full of yummy Peanut Chews, sock yarn and a pumpkin and ghost necklace.

Bridget tells me the Peanut Chews are made locally, which I really appreciate. And they are so delicious. It’s just as well they’re so more-ish because I just want to gorge myself on the yarn! Soooo soft, sooo snuggly and my rubbish photography is not doing justice to the colours. Again, another personal touch, Bridget got it from a dyer-friend of hers, Carol.

There was another treat in store for me, hidden around the other side of the ball band:

 I get to be a knitter for Obama too. I’m so chuffed about that. The colourway is called Unity – how appropriate. Question is: will I be knitting Victory socks with this skein or a Consolation prayer shawl?

Bridget very obviously put a lot of thought into the whole package and made it very personal. It’s hard to believe we’ve never met. Anyway, I have proof for what I’ve long suspected: that Bridget and I are cosmic twins, living parallel lives, as she gets to proper Fancy-Dress Hallowe’en parties.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: I photographed my parcel with the last remnant of our pumpkin – local teenagers used it as a football after they came knocking. Guess they went for the “Trick” option, huh? Bah! Humbug!

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5 Responses to “Samhain”

  1. Bridget Says:

    I’m so thrilled that you like everything, and that it arrived safe and sound!

    (P.S. I think your husband is lucky you still married him, after his “trick” on you that Halloween! Though I can just imagine Tim doing the same thing, and thinking it is the most hi-larious thing ever …)

    Enjoy!

  2. Bridget Says:

    P.S. Sadly, I am not surprised about the comment about Ireland and Halloween. Unfortunately, it’s pretty typical. I’m sure that learning the facts would be close to unbelievable to the writer of the post on Ravelry!

  3. heather Says:

    congratulations! i bet you’ll be watching the elections in anticipation. i hope you’ll be knitting victory socks 🙂

    i have to admit it was only today i found out what “under me oxter” means. i asked me fella, he told me. “it’s a good word, isn’t it?”

    now i’m trying to figure out how you knit that way!

  4. undermeoxter Says:

    In fairness to him, the poster was pretty cool about being set straight on the thread – Rav link: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/irish-knitters/124221/151-175#174
    For those not on Rav here’s some great links to interesting details about Samhain / Hallowe’en that Mairín gives in her post:
    http://www.startpage.ie/Ireland/Article/562.aspx
    and
    http://www.startpage.ie/Ireland/Article/686.aspx

  5. F. O. on Friday « Under Me Oxter – coz that’s how I knit Says:

    […] is from “Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn” by Carol J. Sulcoski – she of the beautiful skein of luxury sock yarn for my Victory Socks. This is the only pattern I’ve knit from the book to […]


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