This was known as a Dumb Supper and all living guests were to dine in silence, listening and watching for a word or sign from their dearly departed.The fear for celebrants was that of course malevolent spirits could also cross over as could the Devil himself.
Each family would take a burning ember from the bonfire, carried in a hollowed out turnip and use it to reignite their own hearth, instilling the same protection and cleansing into their own homes and lives.
The bones of slaughtered cattle would be cast onto the fire as an offering for a good winter and objects symbolising wishes or ailments would be thrown on the flames, individuals hoping to be cured or receive their hearts desires.
The ceremonies for Samhain were intertwined – the light and dark, protections against bad spirits and misfortune and a welcome for the dead to return.
As with Beltane, at the heart of Samhain is the customary communal bonfire.
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As well as the dead, homeowners had to contend with the fairies travelling abroad to create mischief on this most ethereal of nights.
Gifts in the form of food or milk would be left on doorsteps to guarantee a fairy blessing.
The English name Allen is derived from that of a Welsh saint.
=================================================== B Barrett – The surname Barrett came to Ireland with the Anglo-Norman invaders at the end of the twelfth century.
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