Bagpipes, Jack-O'-Lanterns Collide in Celtic Concert at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, N.Y

Bagpipes, Jack-O'-Lanterns Collide in Celtic Concert at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, N.Y

Bagpipes, jack-o'-lanterns collide in Celtic concert at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, N.Y.

October 29th, 2011

Bagpipes, kilts and shamrocks may not evoke images of Halloween, but they probablyshould.

Modern Halloween grew out of the ancient traditions of the early Celtic tribes of Ireland, Scotland, England and part of France. Halloween's Gaelic origins will be honored this weekend when the New Fairfield-based Celtic-roots band MacTalla Mor performs its third annual Celtic Halloween show on Saturday October 29th at 8:30 p.m. at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, N.Y.

Bagpipes and jack-o'-lanterns will collide when MacTalla plays its award-winning high energy mix of Celtic roots, rock, blues, soul, funk, jazz, Gaelic singing and hip-hop -- think Santana with bagpipes or "Riverdance" on steroids. There will also be Irish dancers. Those who attend are encouraged to come incostume.

The band is made up of members of the Ofgang family and features the author of this column on bass. He also is a magician who will be performing magic and as you might have noticed he likes to speak in the thirdperson.

But back to Halloween's Celtic origins: Nov. 1 was the date of the ancient Celts' new year, which was called Samhain. They would celebrate the new year on Oct. 31 and believed the line between the living and dead grew thin on that night. In order to blend in with the souls wandering free on Samhain, the Celts would dress up as ghosts. That practice of dressing up has been carried on today -- though either many modern young women are not aware of this tradition or they believe ghosts look a lot like naughtynurses.

It wasn't until the late-1800s that the holiday began to be incorporated into American culture, thanks to the flood of new immigrants from Europe, most notably the millions of Irish who were fleeing the potato famine of the mid-1800s. So next time a group of kids you've never met knock on your door and demand candy, you can thank usIrish.

Halloween's traditions can be carried on at the Towne Crier's 4th Annual Celtic Halloween Concert.

Tickets to MacTalla Mor's Celtic Halloween are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. The Crier is at 130 Route 22. Call 845-855-1300 or visit For details on the band, visit