Photo courtesy Culture Vannin.

A special, free Zoom program sponsored by ACGA will explore and compare folk traditions related to Oidhche Shamhna, the eve of the ancient Gaelic holiday of Samhain, across Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Ireland. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific/2 pm Atlantic/6 pm GMT) and last until 3 pm Eastern.

The Eve of Samhain corresponds with Halloween, Oct. 31, and many of the traditions associated with Halloween in North America may have their roots in the cultures of the Gaels. Experts on the Gaelic folklore of each nation will help us see the similarities and differences between traditional ways of celebrating Samhain in Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.

How did people observe the holiday? What activities were most associated with Oidhche Shamhna (Scottish Gaelic), Oíche Shamhna (Irish), and Oie Houney or Hop-Tu-Naa (Manx)? What beliefs did people hold about this special night? Did they eat special foods on this night? How have traditions changed over the years? This one-of-a-kind program will look at recent and contemporary observations and celebrations of Oidhche Shamhna across the greater “Gaeldom.”

Our guest speakers are:


Gréagóir Ó Dáire/Gregory Darwin, senior lecturer in Irish, and head of the Celtic section, at Uppsala university in Sweden. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Gregory completed an Honours BA at the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Celtic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. He is interested in maritime folklore, Gaelic-Nordic cultural exchange, poetry, and folk magic.



James Franklin, online and education resources officer of Culture Vannin. Born and raised in Glen Mona,Maughold, James holds degrees in philosophy from the Universities of Manchester and King’s College London. Prior to his current work with Culture Vannin (the world’s leading Manx cultural organization), James was involved in in-person and online educational dissemination as Communications Manager of London’s oldest Higher Education institution, Gresham College. His work has included the creation of the Manx Literature website; an oral history project on the life and poetry of the Manx-dialect poet, Kathleen Faragher; and the transcription of Manx-dialect plays.

Bria Mason, Scotland-based Gaelic teacher, singer and educator on song, nature and folklore. She earned her MA (Hons) Celtic at the University of Edinburgh and her MLitt Language Policy and Planning at the University of Aberdeen. Her recent Halloween costumes include witch, bat and vampire.


Each will give a 20-minute talk. At the end of the presentations we will have an open discussion. Follow this link to register and receive the Zoom link.

For further information contact ACGA board members Adam Dahmer at or Liam Cassidy at