Halloween/ Oíche Shamhna

A chairde,

whether you are Irish, Norwegians or have any class of a grá at all for Ireland or the Irish, NIS would like to wish you all a Happy Halloween / Oíche Shamhna faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.

As you know NIS aims to promote Irish culture and therefore we make an effort to celebrate the Celtic festival of Samhain/Halloween ……..as opposed to the American festival of annoying over-exaggeration….although we must admit  a pumpkin beats a turnip every time (but besides that what have the Americans ever done for us!). We usually organize an event for children to provide an opportunity for them to experience Halloween as it is usually celebrated in Ireland. This year of course we have had to cancel our plans for our yearly party due to COVID, although our committee had made the plans just in case. We would like to thank our Halloween Committee (who usually contribute their time and energy and their wonderful cakes) for their efforts….I would name individuals but would then inevitably get a well -deserved mail in CAPITAL letters telling me I had forgotten someone.

But just because NIS is not arranging anything doesn’t mean you cant, but of course you need to do so safely in your own home. Our children deserve the same opportunity we had of getting a belt in the face from a swinging apple or the anxious knowledge of possibly losing a tooth to the equivalent of a thrupenny bit in the breac, or experiencing a sleepless night having heard a story to frighten the bejasus out of anyone.  So get the costumes out and your strings for the apples or the basins of water ….and of course the sweets which they would usually collect under threat from the neighbours (I seem to remember we had to perform something to be given anything…..ah yes things were so much better during the war).

Feel free to send us some photos etc of your events and we may put up some on our page…….however, make a conscious decision before posting photos of your kids (unless they are unrecognizable…. which actually is part of the point of Halloween). You might even ask their consent just like we did of our own parents……yeah right (Ireland is apparently one of the few places where two positives make a negative). Or simply send us something that might amuse the rest of us…..even if it involves making an eejit of yourself (ref enclosed photo……for your information the photo was sent from the home for the banjaxed and bewildered and is unrelated to Halloween but reflects the effect of sitting indoors staring at a computer screen for the last seven months. Some sleeveen will undoubtedly say I have never looked better).

Our other main event in the course of our year is of course in connection with St Patrick’s Day. As you know we had to cancel our events in March this year at the very last minute due to the closedown in Norway, and I would like to thank our St Patrick’s Day Committee for all the hard work that went into that and acknowledge their disappointment of not being able to put those plans into action. We continue to plan for 2021 however we are aware that March 2021 will likely be too early to hold such events in person even if we are optimistic about availability of a COVID vaccine which looks likely to be approved before the end of this year. Again we would hope that we all can find alternative safe ways to celebrate our national day.

These are difficult times for our community, for all our friends and for Norway in general, and of course also for Ireland. For some it involves having to work from home (or live at the office as I call it) which some think is great and others struggle with, for others it has meant being furloughed (now there is a word we have become familiar with during COVID) and for others again it has meant losing their jobs or their business, or perhaps it has meant that finding a job or starting a job, or a course of study has not been what it “should” be, or we cannot meet our friends or socialize as we would like, and some have also actually been infected by COVID. So, it affects us all but of course it affects some much worse than others. What we all share is the fact we have families in Ireland and travel there has been much more difficult these last months. We have missed birthdays and weddings, and we have also missed illnesses and unfortunately funerals of our loved ones. We have discovered Skype/Teams/Zoom as a way to maintain contact which is at any rate better than nothing. I suspect we will all be queueing up for airline tickets towards the end of next year and will look forward to spending to support the Irish economy as well as seeing family.

Some of us have it worse than others and so I would encourage us all to look out for our friends and our neighbours and especially for those we might think are struggling with the situation, and I would also encourage those who may need support to contact us or others within our community…if only for a chat. I would also like to commend the work being done by our embassy here who will try to support where they can. At least, in all this situation, we know we are extremely lucky to be here in Norway, in comparison to other places in Europe, in the UK, or indeed in a locked-down Ireland.

We can try to “look on the bright side of life”. We can for example take heart that there are still some positives coming from Ireland…..not least our sportsmen and sportswomen who we know will give it a good lash in the rugby and soccer etc. There is even something to be had from the GAA now that Dublin decided to retire Dermot Connolly to give some of the rest a chance……. (I understand that QAnon believe that the corona pandemic is a conspiracy to prevent Dublin winning 6 in a row………sounds plausible to me). Or we can be inspired by other sports activity which we may have noted from Normal People.

NIS will continue to look at ways of contributing to putting a smile on our members’ faces and we will continue posting things on this site for our edification and amusement. We will likely try to organize some form of on-line event in the near future so watch this space. Finally let me share something that made me smile (pre the decline reflected in my photo)…..it was how the Irish differ in creativity when it comes to the English language compared to the English……… in describing the phenomenon of people who don’t follow current health guidelines the English came up with the expression  “covidiocy”… fair enough but not really up there with Wilde, Shaw or Heaney.…the equivalent Irish expression I heard recently was ….gobshitery…..(sounds a little Roddy Doyle….but very encompassing).

So Northmen, Southmen, Eastmen, Westmen..and women…or however you identify

Go mbuailimid le chéile aris, go dté sibh slán / stay safe

Conn President NIS

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