The “Pooka” or in Irish púca (Irish for spirit/ghost), is primarily a goblin like creature in traditional Irish folklore. The pooka is considered to be both a bringer of good and bad fortune. The pooka could either help or hinder rural and mariner communities. The goblin like creatures were said to be shape shifters which could take the appearance of black horses, goats and rabbits.
September 23rd, the Autumn Equinox. To Celts – this is the Second Harvest, when the ripe Acorns fall from the wild Irish Oaks and we plant them in fertile soil. This wonderful time is the time when day and night are equal in length. Equinox meaning “equal night”.
In Ireland there is an ancient Irish equinox temple at Knowth, near Newgrange (Brú na Boinne). Knowth has a 100-foot long passage that only is light by the Sun on the morning of the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
The Banshee, bean-sidhe (woman of the fairy may be an ancestral spirit appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, the O’Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Intermarriage has since extended this select list.
Whatever her origins, the banshee chiefly appears in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain.) She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe (washing woman).
Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die.
After you feast on traditional Irish foods on Halloween you will need to wash it down with an old drink called Lambswool. The name Lambswool is believed to be derivative of the Irish Gaelic, “La Mas Nbhal” meaning ‘Feast of the Apples. The Gaelic saying was pronounced “Lammas-ool”. This ultimately evolved into Lambswool. There are several of recipes for Lambswool that exist. But the drink basically consists of baked crushed apples(cored and crushed without skins), which are added to milk, and hot spiced ale, hard cider and or wine. Grate in nutmeg and some ginger. Add sugar according to taste.
About This Recipe
“This is a traditional cider drink that was made and enjoyed on Twelfth Night (January 16-17) in Elizabethan England. It is said that it gets its name from the whiteness of the roasted apples as they fluff out of their skins while they cook. I haven’t made it yet, but I cant let go of the recipe every time I go to clean out my recipe box.”
- 4 pints real ale ( Newcastle or similar)
- 2 -3 large apples
- 1 cup hard alcoholic cider ( such as Woodchuck or Hornsby’s)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- Preheat oven to 180°C: 350°F: Gas 4.
- Core the apples and bake in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until very soft.
- Squeeze all of the pulp from the apples and discard the skins then fluff the puree with a fork.
- Heat the ale and cider with the cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Add the apple puree and sugar to taste.
- Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Food.com