Monday, 29 October 2012
Dancing through Darkness
Most of all I love the sense of warmth and nourishment that comes from the familiar round of each year's winter festivals.
As Halloween approaches, the house fills with the warm fruity smell of baking brack, the sharp tang of vinegar, and the satisfying sounds of onions, apples, and spices being chopped and ground up for chutney.
Wrapped up against wind and rain, we drive to Dingle to buy monkey nuts, then home again to pile them into a bowl on the bench by the fire.
Squelching between the ridges where the last of the potatoes are still waiting to be dug, I pull a knobbly green and purple turnip and carry it indoors, muddy roots and all, to carve into a lantern.
This was the night when the ancient Celts danced and sang through the darkness, lit bonfires high on the mountains, and shared the best of their food and drink with neighbours, strangers and friends.
It was a gesture of courage and confidence in the face of the dark months ahead. And a triumphant communal celebration of the certain return of Spring.