A New View of Halloween
Of course Ireland is big on Halloween. Really big. After all, it originated here three thousand years ago. It was the day that marked the end of the light season and the beginning of the dark. And that night was believed to be when the veil between our world and the ‘otherworld’ was at it’s thinnest, meaning spirits could cross between the two.
Well, these days they celebrate the mystery and magic of all worlds on Halloween and one group of performers in Galway takes it to heart every year; to heart and the streets. The Macnas (pronounced mack-noss’) are dedicated to their art. They call it a mix of outdoor entertainment, spectacle and street performance. They design gigantic characters, many of them illuminated, all of them teamed with troupes of performers to complete their idea. At their feet are groups of performers dressed to perfection and engaging the audience. Yes, they entertain just being there, but their main goal in street performance is to engage the audience, draw them into the fantasy that includes music, performers, large scale characters, sound effects, smoke, fire and music. It is all encompassing.
It’s a group of 45 professionals, who incorporate some 300 volunteers to fill out the parade. It involves professional costumers, a commitment to learning what’s expected in the parade performance, and a dedication to the art.
It was a magical take on Halloween.