We had a wonderful Samhain Tea Dance on the 25th October at the Queen's Hall, with dozens of witches, goblins, ghosties and spirits turning up - we think we even spotted a púca!
Community members enjoyed live music, tea, sandwiches, plenty of cake and a spook-tacular raffle.
Samhain is an important Pagan festival which signalled the end of the harvest and the beginning of the 'dark half' of the year in the Celtic world. Celts also believed it was when the veil between the world of the living and the dead was at its thinnest, with those who had died during the year believed to make their way into the otherworld on the feast of Samhain.
Samhain was the most significant date in the Celtic calendar, with people gathering to make offerings of food and lighting bonfires to help the dead on their journey (and to keep them away from the living - it wasn't just human souls thought to come out of the shadows on Samhain, but all kinds of fairies, ghosts and demons.) You can learn a little about the relationship between Samhain and Hallowe'en traditions here.
At LIHH, we'll take any excuse for a party - but even more so when it's an occasion that allows us to share our rich cultural heritage as Irish people in Britain with our wider community.
A huge thank you to our staff, LIHH and Leeds Building Society volunteers, Christine for the fabulous food, Leeds Comhaltas, the Irish dancers, St Patrick's primary school, the Jamaica Society Leeds and Mary and Eibhlin for the wonderful decorations which made sure the hall looked fa-boo-lous.
We'll see you all again next year...if you dare!