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Celts celebrate Halloween

CELTIC-culture lovers and Halloween enthusiasts are invited to rejoice in celebrating Halloween the traditional way.
In a two-day party held at two Bratislava's venues - the Slovak Pub and Lúky Culture House on October 29 and 30, respectively - visitors can learn about the origin of the event that also marked the start of Celtic New Year, the Samhain. The happening is organised by Keltieg, the civic association and band, which will bring its traditional Celtic music to both places.

CELTIC-culture lovers and Halloween enthusiasts are invited to rejoice in celebrating Halloween the traditional way.

In a two-day party held at two Bratislava's venues - the Slovak Pub and Lúky Culture House on October 29 and 30, respectively - visitors can learn about the origin of the event that also marked the start of Celtic New Year, the Samhain. The happening is organised by Keltieg, the civic association and band, which will bring its traditional Celtic music to both places.

In the pagan history of the Celts, Samhain was the Earl of Dead. During the night of October 31 the wizard-like Druids bid farewell to summer, which belonged to the goddess of life, and welcomed the reign of Samhain, the governor of winter. The Celtic calendar recognised only two periods, summer and winter, and so the date was also the start of new year.

Celts believed that during the October 31 night, when life (summer) gave way to death (winter), the dead came to visit the living to choose a body they could inhabit for a year. Fearing the body to be theirs, the inhabitants bribed them with various gifts. The night was also the time for black magic: Parties were held to establish contact with the dead and to retain good relations.

In Ireland, the celebration of the magic night also meant dressing up in ghoulish costumes. They believed that by disguising themselves they would frighten away the "visitors from the other world".

Meanwhile, Christians adopted the holiday. The Protestant Church named it All Hallowed Evening in the 16th century; an equivalent to today's Halloween, which the Americans returned back to its pagan origin giving it a modern twist.

To experience a bit of the "then" atmosphere, the Keltská pivnica (Celtic Cellar) of the Slovak Pub will kick off the party at 14:00 with Kelt beer and Jameson's whisky offered at special rates. A show of blowing on a carnyx, an ancient Celtic war horn, will sound the bar at 18:00. It will be followed by concerts of Celtic and Slovak music, competitions in drinking beer and blowing the carnyx, and other entertainment activities.

The party's second day starts at 13:00 in Lúky Culture House, in Petržalka, where workshops teaching how to play the tin whistle, violin, and Irish drum, the bodhran, as well as Breton dances, will be running.

- ZH

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