Halloween, Interesting Stories, Irish Traditions

IRISH HALLOWEEN TRADITION – BARMBRACK

There are many Irish Halloween traditions in Ireland. One of my favorites is barmbrack.
Barmbrack is at the very core of the Irish Halloween traditions. The Halloween Brack, much like Christmas pudding traditionally contained various objects baked into the sweet bread. These various items were used as fortune-telling. In the barmbrack items like a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring were traditionally used. When an item is received in the slice, had a meaning for that person. For instance if you got the pea, the person would not marry that year, the stick, you’ll have an unhappy marriage , the cloth or rag meant bad luck or you’ll be poor; the coin of course meant you’ll have good fortune or be rich and the ring, meant you would be wed within the year. Other items also added to the brack were medals, usually of the Virgin Mary to symbolize going into the priesthood or becoming a nun, although this tradition isn’t very popular today.

Recipe
INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon dry active yeast
⅔ cup/158 milliliters lightly warmed milk
1 egg, beaten
1 ⅔ cups/214 grams all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting
¼ teaspoon cinnamon 12002851_1068039236547381_8260594681565605031_n
¼ teaspoon clove
¼ teaspoon mace ( Mace is made from the lacy, red outer coating that covers the shell around the nutmeg kernel. )
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
½ cup/75 grams golden raisins
½ cup/75 grams black raisins
½ cup/75 grams currants
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

In a small bowl, whisk the yeast and milk together. Leave it to bubble slowly in a warm spot 10 minutes, then whisk in the beaten egg.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, put the flour, cinnamon, clove, mace, salt, butter and sugar. Mix well, incorporating butter with fingertips (or paddle, if using mixer) until absorbed.
Pour the yeast-milk-egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon (or dough hook, with mixer).
When the dough begins to come together, add the raisins, currants, lemon zest and orange zest, then mix to combine. It will be somewhat sticky dough. Dust lightly with flour, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough feels smooth. Pat dough into a rectangle.
Butter a loaf pan and lay in the dough, pushing down so dough covers bottom of pan. Stretch plastic wrap loosely over pan and put in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel, for about an hour, until doubled in size. Uncover.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and center a rack in the oven. Bake loaf on the centered rack for 45 minutes, until well browned. Carefully tip the loaf out of the pan onto a cooling rack. To tell whether it’s done, thump the bottom of the loaf with your fingertips; it should sound hollow. Let cool to room temperature before slicing, if possible. ( NYT recipe)

 

Happy Halloween!

To wish someone a happy Halloween, you can say:

Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit (EE-hyeh HOW-nuh HUN-uh ditch*)

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Celtic Holidays, Celtic Legends, Halloween, Interesting Stories, Irish Traditions

The Pooka In Irish Folklore

The púca (Irish for spirit/ghost), pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca or púka is primarily a creature of Celtic folklore. Considered to be bringers both of good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities.The Púca can have dark or staunch white fur or hair. The creatures were said to be shape changers which could take the appearance of horses, goats, cats, dogs, and hares. They may also take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail.

The Phooka
Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

 

Interesting Stories, Irish Christmas, Irish Traditions

Irish Christmas Traditions

irish christmas traditions

Ireland is a magical country, filled with tradition and folklore dating back many years. Christmas in Ireland is an especially magical time of year. Many Irish Christmas traditions have become part of the Christmas celebration of many nationalities and have made their way into main stream American Christmas customs.

In Ireland people say “Nollaig Shona Duit” pronounced NO-Lihg HO-nuh ghwich. This Irish Christmas greeting literally translates to Happy Christmas.

One beloved Irish Christmas tradition is that of the Christmas plum pudding. The traditional Irish Christmas plum pudding has had humble beginnings. Plum pudding was originally a porridge flavored with scraps of leftover meat or fish, thickened with bread crumbs and bound together with eggs, fruit and spices. During the Tudor and Stuart period in England, dried prunes were added to the pudding mixture which became known as a plum porridge. Eventually becoming called plum pudding and often eaten with Brandy Butter Sauce.

Another very common Christmas custom in Ireland is the candle window. The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practiced today and has become an American Christmas tradition as well. The candle in the window has a number of purposes. One of its primary meanings is as a welcoming symbol to Mary and Joseph as they traveled looking for shelter. The candle also indicated a safe place for Catholic priests to perform mass during the penal times when Catholic masses were not allowed. Another part of the tradition is the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the family and should only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name Mary.

In Ireland celebrating the Feast Day of St. Stephen’s is usually accompanied with the Wren Boy Procession. Saint Stephen’s Day celebrated on December 26th, also know as the Day of the Wren is a national holiday in Ireland.

During Penal times there was a plot in a village against the local soldiers. The soldiers were surrounded and about to be ambushed when a flock of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened them in time to defend themselves. The plot failed and the wren became known as the “Devil’s Bird”.

On Saint Stephen’s Day a procession takes place where pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes with blackened faces. In olden days an actual wren bird was killed and placed on the pole. This custom has largely disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephen’s has survived and is a large part of the Irish Christmas celebration today.

Last but not least a fabulous Irish Christmas tradition that hasn’t made its way to the states is called “Women’s Christmas”. In Ireland on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, is when traditionally the Irish finish celebrating Christmas. It is also known as “Nollaigh na mBean” in Irish or “Women’s Christmas”. Tradition has it that women get the day off and the men of the house get to do the housework, cooking and take down the Christmas decorations. Women meet up to go have a day out and treat themselves. Have you ever celebrated “Women’s Christmas”?

The Irish Jewelry Company- “Carrying on Irish Tradition on gift at a time.”
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jennifer_Derrig/2157773

 

via Irish Christmas Traditions and Customs.

Interesting Stories, Irish Christmas, News

Christmas Gift Delivery Shipping & Delivery for 2015

holiday image 1000x360

Christmas Gift Delivery, by Christmas Eve Dec 24th 2015

2015 Christmas Shipping (Recommended Cut-Off Dates)

Standard International Shipping: Order by Dec. 11th.

UPS Ground/Flat Rate Shipping: (East Coast) Order by Monday, Dec. 21st by 10am Est for delivery on or about Dec. 24th. (this is not guaranteed)

(West Coast) Order by Friday, Dec. 18th by 10am Est for delivery on or about Dec. 24th. (this is not guaranteed)

UPS 3Day Select Shipping: Order by Monday Dec. 21st by 10am Est for delivery on Dec. 24th anytime time up until 9pm. (Guaranteed Delivery)

UPS 2Day Shipping: Order by Tuesday Dec. 22nd by 10am Est for delivery on Dec 24th anytime time up until 9pm. (Guaranteed Delivery)

UPS Next Day Shipping:  Order by Wdnesday Dec. 23rd by 11:30am Est for delivery on Dec. 24th anytime time up until 9pm. (Guaranteed Delivery)

Important Holiday Shipping Dates and Information:

Thanksgiving, Nov. 26th 2015 (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

Black Friday, Nov. 27th2015 (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

Small Buisness Saturday, Nov. 28th 2015

Cyber Monday, Nov. 29th 2015

Christmas Eve, Thursday Dec 24th 2015

  • Normal delivery of air, international and ground shipments.
  • Pickup service available for air and international shipments if prearranged by Tuesday, Dec. 23. UPS On-Call Pickup service and UPS Drop Boxes are available to all customers for air and international shipments.* No UPS Ground, UPS Standard or 3 Day Select pickups until Friday, Dec. 26.

Christmas Day, Friday Dec. 25th 2015

No UPS pickup or delivery service. (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

New Years Eve & News Years Day 2016

No UPS pickup or delivery service. (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

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Celtic Legends, Halloween, Interesting Stories

The Dullahan – The Irish Headless Horseman

The Irish legend of the Dullahan, or English translation “dark man” is unnerving. The Headless Horseman or Dullahan is the Irishdullahan the irish jewelry company foreteller of death. The Dullahan rides a jet black horse with flames shooting from its eyes, carrying his head under one arm. Irish folklore says that when he stops riding, a human dies.


There are many versions of this scary tale. Some say that the Dullahan throws buckets of blood at people he passes, while other say he simply calls out the name of the mortal that will soon die.
But as with most evil entities the Dullahan has a weakness. The Dullahan can not stand the sight of GOLD. So you would be wise when traveling on this Halloween to carry a wee bit of in case you have a run-in with this headless horror!

Halloween, Interesting Stories, Irish Traditions

Irish Fairies and Anti Fairy Measures

In Ireland there are fairies, good natured and there are FAIRIES. If you’ve ever traveled at night on the winding Irish back roads in the countryside of Ireland you would know it is a kind of eerie darkness that puts fear in your very heart. One can easily imagine something moving over the moors or hearing the forlorn screech of a dammed fairy.

celtic fairyAs a child in Ireland you are warned to not play inside a fairy fort because the fairies don’t like it and might curse you or worse they might fancy you. Fairy forts are mounds or hills found all over Ireland. They are the ruins of circular mound dwellings in which people lived during the Iron Age such as Newgrange.

‘Away with the fairies’ is an old Irish expression referring to someone whose mind is elsewhere. It originated with the belief in the folklore that mischievous fairies steal souls and carry children off to the underworld, leaving changelings in their place.
A Changeling is a creature thought to be the offspring of a fairy that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. It is thought that fairies often fancy mortals and steal their pretty children. They carry the babies away leaving behind a Changeling, an ailing fairy child, or a log of wood so bewitched that they seems to be a mortal pining away in bewilderment.
They say if you wear your clothing inside out or wear bells you can ward off the malevolent fairies.

Anti-Fairy Measures for Halloween:12047118_10156157606690245_1081658573287531121_n

There is an old Irish folklore that warns of fairies and goblins that try to collect as many souls as they can at Halloween. Folklore says if you through the dust from under your feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged to release any souls that they held captive.

Celtic Legends, Interesting Stories, News

Grace O’Malley, the 16th Century Pirate Queen of Ireland…

In-honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day….

Grace O’Malley was born in Ireland in around 1530. She was the daughter of Owen O’Malley. O’malley was a wealthy nobleman and sea trader. WhenO’Malley died Grace inherited his large shipping and trading business. Grace O’Malley commanded a dozen ships and thousands of men. Grace’s vast empire of ships stretched from Connaught on the Irish coast to Africa. Through the daring of her piracy, Grace nearly bankrupted the English treasury-and her outright defiance brought embarrassment to Queen Elizabeth I.

graceomalley

International Talk Like a Pirate Day or ITLAPD is on September 19. It is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate. Arghhhhh!

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Take 15% Off everything you purchase today only!
Enter promo code ARGHH15

Offer good today on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th, only. Shop online at Talk-Like-a-Pirate-Dayhttp://www.theirishjewelrycompany.com/

Interesting Stories, News

Tips On How To Buy Irish Jewelry For A Gift

via Tips On How To Buy Irish Jewelry For A Gift.

There is not a doubt that giving your loved one jewelry says they are special. But giving someone of Irish heritage a piece of Irish or Celtic jewelry, steeped in symbolism and tradition could put them over the moon. The sentimentality of Celtic jewelry is phenomenal but finding the perfect meaning is key. It’s a timeless gift, like a family heirloom that can be passed on for generations. However, successfully selecting the perfect piece with that special meaning can be a wee bit confusing for some people. Simply follow these easy tips and choosing that perfect jewelry gift that speaks for itself will be effortless.

1. How old is the person you are shopping for? You really want to take the age of the perstemporary imageon into consideration. If they are a child you’ll want something smaller in size, maybe with a touch of whimsy like an angel or fairy. If they are in their twenties to forties then have no fear and go trendy with an Infinity Knot or Stackable Claddagh Ring. If you are buying for somebody a wee bit wiser in their years then I would go with a traditional symbol of Ireland like an Irish Harp.

2. What type of jewelry do they normally wear? Start looking at how they currently accessorize their wardrobe. Do they wear earrings all the time? Are they long and dangling or are they smaller and close to the ear? Do they like bracelets and rings or are they a necklace person? If you are buying a ring it is important to get the size correct. Many online jewelry retailers offer a ring sizing tool. A simple ring sizing guide to measure your finger or an actual ring online. By using this simple tool it eliminates the hassle of having to make a ring exchange.

3. Is it a religious occasion? Having an understanding of the event or occasion you are purchasing your jewelry gift for is very important. If it is a religious ceremony like a communion or confirmation you should go with something more traditional like a Celtic cross, medal or rosary.

4. On the other hand shopping for a birthday gift can be fun. Take the person’s personality into consideration. Are they fun and vibrant with a great sense of humor? Then go with something whimsical that has a punch of emerald green color like the “Little Irish Devil Shamrock” necklace. If they are a little more mystical and free-spirited try a legendary style like the “Children of Lir” pendant, “Irish Tree of Life” or something with a Celtic knot theme. If they are a bit more reserved then try a more traditional shamrock pendant, trinity knot or a claddagh necklace.

5. Who is the person you are shopping for? If you are shopping for a sibling or close friend who is like a sister then you should consider a style like the “Celtic Sisters Knot”. For a more romantic gift we recommend shopping for a love knot or a claddagh ring, a symbol of friendship, love and loyalty. If you are shopping for a mom or mom to be then consider a style with loads of sentimental meaning like the “Celtic Mother’s Knot” or the “Mother’s Claddagh” collection. Any mother would be overwhelmed with joy by their meaning. If you are purchasing for a grandmother try considering a style like the “Family Birthstone Claddagh”. It can be personalized with all the grand children’s birthstones. What Irish grandmother wouldn’t love that?

Irish and Celtic jewelry is inspired by customs and folklores passed on for generations over centuries from countries like Ireland and Scotland. Giving a piece of jewelry like this as a gift is a wonderful tribute to someone’s heritage.

Jennifer Derrig, Owner of http://www.TheIrishJewelryCompany.com. Shop The Irish Jewelry Company for all your Irish Jewelry needs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jennifer_Derrig

Interesting Stories, News, St. Patricks Day

Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

Sports Celebration of Irish Heritage

100,003
Population of South Bend, Ind., home to the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame. About 10.4 percent of South Bend’s population claims Irish ancestry.

Percentage of the Boston metropolitan area population that claims Irish ancestry, one of the highest percentages for the top 50 metro areas by population. Boston is home of the Celtics of the National Basketball Association.

78,390 and 16,167

Population of New Rochelle, N.Y., and Moraga, Calif., home to the Gaels of Iona University and St. Mary’s College of California, respectively. During college basketball’s March Madness, you will typically see these universities compete on the court, no doubt rooted on by some of the 8.4 percent of the New Rochelle population and 15.5 percent of the Moraga population that claim Irish ancestry.

Population Distribution
34.1 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2012. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million). Irish was the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.

22.6%

Percentage of the population in Massachusetts that claims Irish ancestry, which is among the highest in the nation. New York has 2.5 million people claiming Irish ancestry, which is among the most of any state.

153,248

Number of people with Irish ancestry who were naturalized citizens in 2012.

39.2 years old

Median age of those who claim Irish ancestry, which is higher than U.S. residents as a whole at 37.4 years.

Irish-Americans Today
34.2%

Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition, 93.4 percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 29.1 percent and 86.4 percent, respectively.

$59,220

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the $51,371 for all households. In addition, 7.4 percent of family households of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.8 percent for all Americans.

41.1%

Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 25.9 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.9 percent in service occupations; 9.3 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.7 percent in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.

68.9%

Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 63.9 percent.

Places to Spend the Day
16

Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. The most recent population for Dublin, Calif., was 47,156.

If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,669 residents.

Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Ill., several places or townships named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) or one of the seven places that are named Shamrock.

The Celebration
25.9 billion

U.S. beef production in pounds in 2012. Corned beef is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish.

$21.5 million

Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in 2012 for operations with $100,000 or more sales. Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:
African-American History Month (February)
Super Bowl
Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14)
Women’s History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
Earth Day (April 22)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Mother’s Day
Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
Father’s Day The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Labor Day
Grandparents Day
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day
The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.1-main