In association with the Clonakilty Arts Centre, a newly formed art collective, Geata Arts, is planning to resurrect the ancient legends and myths of Samhain, bringing them out onto the streets of Clonakilty in an extravagant street parade leading to a dramatic fire performance and the burning of the Great Elk under the full moon on Saturday, November 4.
The ancient festival of Samhain, corresponding to modern day Hallowe’en, was one of the most important events on the Celtic calendar. It was the transition into the darker, colder months of the year and for a brief moment, a time when the dead and beings of other worlds would walk amongst the living
Samhain has a unique cultural significance in Ireland, but over the years has waned in importance, giving over to the mass appeal and commercialism of Hallowe’en. Geata Arts aims reinvigorate this tradition and remind people of the deeper significance of this time of the year.
Under the theme ‘Extinct Ireland’, the group will parade through the town in traditional masks and ancient costumes, accompanied by otherworldly animals and spirits. They will dance to the command of warrior rhythms and regal horns, celebrating the unique cultural heritage of our ancestors
“It’s amazing to feel the excitement grow as more and more people get involved and it really begins to take shape,” says Ronan McLoughlin, one of the local parade organisers.
There will be many events on the days either side of the parade too; from October 31 to November 6, keep an eye out for wandering performances, art installations, a Death Café, Fancy Dress Céilí and much more. The parade itself begins at 7pm at the archway by O’Donovan’s Hotel.
An important part of the festival will be the Shrine of Remembrance located in Spillers Lane – a woven willow structure that everyone is invited to visit and leave a message or offering to loved ones who have passed on or to witness what others have left.
There shall be an original Shadow Puppet Theatre production ‘The Cow, the Crow and the World Below’ telling a story of Samhain in the weeks leading up to the main event and as a prequel to the parade.
The group has quickly generated a massive amount of interest in the West Cork town. With over a hundred people scheduled to parade through the streets, Geata Arts has already demonstrated the desire in many to return to a traditional, non-commercial and more inclusive festival spirit.
This is a non-profit, collaborative community event so all support is very welcome. The group is looking for volunteers to take part in the parade and help with stewarding and also to assist throughout October with creating props and floats, making costumes etc.
Donations of materials for creation such as fabric, paint, wood, willow, feathers, natural materials, etc are all most welcome. Please bring them to the Clonakilty Arts Center or The Workshop.
Monetary donations are also welcome and can be made to Geata Arts C/O Clonakilty Credit Union.
Updates and final programme will be posted on the Samhain 17 event page on Facebook and the website – www.geataarts.org
For more information or to volunteer contact Mark on 083 4533241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We can’t wait to see you at the Parade!”
by Mark Dougherty