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How the Irish ward off evil spirits at Halloween

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A leading commentator on agriculture in Kansas, John Schlageck, has written about the various ways The Irish ward off evil spirits during the ghostly season.

Halloween, which the Irish can lay claim to beginning, has many traditions on how to ward off the evil spirits they believe came to visit them during the Halloween season - the end of the light and the beginning of the dark season.

According to Schlageck, "The Irish believed fairies, who came out of their mounds at Halloween, played pranks on the people who lived above ground. When the Irish came to this country they decided to emulate the fairies by going around and putting carriages on barns and turning over outhouses."

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Several of the traditions have been transported across the world and here are some of the "tools" used to keep the ghosts at bay.

Bonfires- light a big bonfire to keep the spirit world away.

Black cats- Schlageck said these creatures are "associated with Faust who sold his soul to the devil for knowledge and power.

Pumpkin or jack-o'-lanterns- faces carved on the pumpkins are said to keep away ghosts from the door.

Dressing up as various creatures is also another way people of warding off bad spirits.

Halloween colors are still orange and black, colors associated with the dead.

Orignally published October 2010.

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