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In Northern Ireland, Halloween is such a major celebration that it is often called the Irish Christmas. A day of family reunions, meals, and fun, Halloween brings people of all ages together with rhyming, storytelling, family fireworks, and community bonfires. Perhaps most important, it has become a day that transcends the social conflict found in this often troubled nation. Through the extensive use of interviews, The Hallowed Eve offers a fascinating look at the various customs, both past and present, that mark the celebration of the holiday. Looking through the lenses of gender, ethnicity, and religious affiliation, Jack Santino examines how the traditions exist in a nonthreatening, celebratory way to provide a model of how life could be in Northern Ireland. Halloween, concludes Santino, is a marriage of death and life, a joining of cultural opposites: indoor and outdoor, domesticity and wildness, male and female, old and young. Although current folk and popular traditions can be divisive, Halloween in Northern Ireland is universally considered to belong to everyone, regardless of their background or political leanings. The holiday is a dramatic example of how a community comes together one day a year, and these Northern Irish traditions capture the fundamental and everyday dimensions of life in Ulster.
"The definitive look as the uniquely Irish origins of Halloween."—Green Man Review
"An excellent and incisive probe into what a festival means to a separated culture and how it succeeds, though only for a day, in bringing the two warring factions of Northern Ireland together."—Journal of Popular Culture
"The variety of Halloween folklore and customs that Santino presents is a window into culture. As such, The Hallowed Eve is often more instructive about fundamental and everyday dimensions of life in Northern Ireland than simplistic, journalistic images of a hopelessly bigoted and war-torn province broadcast to the wider world."—New Hibernia Review
"The history and ways the Irish celebrate are interesting to read about and let us know more about the culture of the Irish, yesterday and today."—Ohioana Quarterly
"Depicts a tradition that is not just a celebration but, in a sense, a time of community healing, even if only for one day a year."—Ozarks Mountaineer
"Santino's past work has associated him as firmly with the American celebration of Halloween as witches, black cats, and vampires. The Hallowed Eve will broaden readers' understanding of the holiday as celebrated in Northern Ireland, and explode some piously held beliefs concerning the relationship of the American and Irish holidays as thoroughly as an M-80 in a jack-o-lantern."—Erika Brady
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Halloween, Northern Ireland, Folklore
Santino, Jack, "The Hallowed Eve: Dimensions of Culture in a Calendar Festival in Northern Ireland" (1998). Folklore. Book 3.