Barmbrack – Irish Bread for Halloween


Barmbrack is an Irish fruit bread that’s served for Halloween and for Samhain, a similar holiday celebrated on November 1st.

Barmbrack has traditionally been cooked with objects inside that are used for “fortune-telling”.  Below are some objects used.  Whoever receives the slice with that object is supposed to have the corresponding fortune in the upcoming year:

A Toy Coin: That person will get rich.
A Piece of Fabric or a Bean:  Poverty
A Matchstick:  An unhappy marriage with fighting.
Gold Ring: Marriage
A Button: Bachelorhood
A Thimble: Spinsterhood
A Pea: That person will not get married in the upcoming year.

Nowadays, barmbrack is sold in stores with only a toy ring baked inside. The person who gets the ring is supposed to be the one who will get married.

Barmbrack comes from the Gaelic term for the bread which is “bairín breac”.  This translates to speckled bread.  It’s speckled because there’s dried fruit in it. 

There’s an Irish Gaelic song with Barmbrack mentioned in it called Oíche Shamhna (Halloween).  It’s sung to the tune of Frère Jacques.

There’s also a recipe for Barmbrack online!

Image: Wikipedia

This article was posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Bad Luck, Barmbrack, Bread, Charms, Countries & Cultures, Cuisine, Customs and Traditions, Gaelic, Good Luck, Halloween, Holidays Around the World, Ireland, Irish Cuisine, Languages, Recipes of the World, Samhain, Superstitions, Symbolic Food, Symbols. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Barmbrack – Irish Bread for Halloween”

  1. Dorethea Colston Says:

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