In the past week, I did a lot of research on the significance of certain symbols in Irish culture. Because this past Tuesday was Samhain (pronounced sah-win, or Halloween), I styled and modeled for a promotional shoot for Celtic Fusion in collaboration with doorusphoto.net. Here are some photos from the shoot:
Here’s a break down of the themes that were present in the shoot:
Samhain was historically seen as the darkest night of the year – mainly because every household extinguished their fire for the night in an attempt to hide from the spirits that are able to walk in the land of the living. Fire is still heavily associated with the celebration, however, especially those who are seeking to communicate with the dead.
Apples were often seen as the fruit of the other world and were used for magic and fortune telling. Traditionally, on the night of Samhain, if a young woman looked into a mirror while eating an apple, she would be given a glimpse of her true love – or the god of the dead.
We shot in a particularly special set of caves, but many caves throughout Ireland are speculated to be the entrance to Tír na nÓg, or the other world. Because the veil is said to be thin, standing in a cave on the evening of Samhain might result in some unwanted (or wanted?) visits.
Because Samhain is known for its associating with death and spirits, there is no wonder why skulls would be an important part of its symbolism. Oftentimes, farmers would throw the bones of slaughtered livestock into the fire before it was extinguished for night.
While a lot of the reasoning behind this shoot was purely from our own passion for ancient culture and folklore, it was also a great marketing technique for the company. We found that the average customer for Celtic Fusion is very enthusiastic about the Irish festivals, largely as a result of the neopagan movement that is becoming more prevalent in the United States. Using the day of Samhain as a way to not only clear up misconceptions about ‘holiday’ as well as to communicate the authenticity of the company proved to receive a very positive reaction from followers and potential customers on social media.