Turnip Lanterns

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14 Responses

  1. Red Don says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    [quote]The odd thing was it was gone in the morning, hopefully not to return on Halloween.[/quote]

    I hope your not making a paranormal claim there Daniel.  Who would want to steal a smelly turnip?  Where do you live and what are your neighbours like?

  2. Paul says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
     I remember making these as a child in Staffordshire, we used to pop over the farmers field, avoiding the witches corner( haven’t a clue how it got it’s name but all the kids new it) and collected the turnips fresh.. luckily we never got caught lol

  3. Nessa says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    I do recall hearing about turnip lanterns but cannot remember from where or more info other than it was before the use of pumpkins.
    It would probably take me hours to try and carve my way through one so I think i’ll just stick with a pumpkin especially now I know of the smell issue. However good luck to anyone who gives it a go.
    I am very impressed with above example Daniel :0) Well done!

  4. Daniel Parkinson says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    I think they still make these on the Isle of Man.

    Red Don I am guessing an animal took it, although what animal would want a smelly swede is anyones guess.

  5. Mauro says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    I remember trying making one when I was much younger and ending up making a complete mess of it.

    In Distortion We Trust

  6. Andy Paciorek says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    As a kid, we used to make turnip lanterns, moreso because pumpkins seemed hard to come by then for some reason(though I do recall at the time seeing illustrations of jack o’ lanterns, particularly from American sources, that showed pumpkins).

    Suggestions for the tradition have made mention of Celtic Head Cults, and also the Samhain fires to which the hungry dead may be drawn. The carved vegetable heads, initially not being a celebration of the spooky but intended to ward off malign spirits.

    A tip for carving pumpkin lanterns is not to cut entirely through the skin, but to leave a layer of white pith intact, then when the candle is lit inside, the effect is much improved.

  7. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    We should have arranged a Turnip Lantern competition.  Maybe next year 🙂

  8. fionalane says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    A SWEDE is a TURNIP! I’ve been arguing this for 20 years with southerners. We used the ones my grandfather grew on his allotment (not that we told him!)

  9. fionalane says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    I forgot to mention this. I the North-East we burned them on the bonfire on 5th November. By this time they had dried out and burned beautifully. My dad always had HUGE blisters on 1st November, which probably took all year to heal!

  10. Daniel Parkinson says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns

    "A SWEDE is a TURNIP! I’ve been arguing this for 20 years with southerners. We used the ones my grandfather grew on his allotment (not that we told him!)"

    I was wondering the difference was, they offer both at Tescos, but the turnips were tiny the ones on this website:http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/Fighting-back–traditional-style.4619125.jp
    look a better size or are they swedes, now I am confused.
    The one I carved turned up under the hedge, perhaps it was trying to make it to the gatepost 🙂

  11. robbiethered says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns
    Hee hee,

    Yes we always had one when I was a kid.
    By the time I turned ten or so, I was given the uncarved swede myself and left to go at it with whatever I could find best in the drawer. Because it’s hard inside, it’s tricky with an ordinary knife not to cut the outer skin, or indeed yourself. I learned somehow, I think I developed a method, cutting deep cris-crosses and getting the squares out, layer by layer.

    The advantage with these is that they’re usually tough enough to put some string or thick wire in like a handle, and carry, whereas pumpkins from shops are softer. The pumpkins I grew one year were slightly harder than standard shop ones, coz I think I’d followed Peter Seabrook’s instructions to let it weather a bit once cut from the plant, and the weather will harden the hide.

    What was that story on Jackanory way back, about a village in Scotland was it, and the final scene was everybody ended up with glowing Jack o’ Lanterns on their cottage doors?

    The DVD "Pumpkin Moon" is a nice little story for Hallowe’en, too. Hee hee, there’s a special added feature hosted by some crazy puppet, showing you how to make all kinds of Blue Peter style props and figures for Hallowe’en!

  12. Ecardina says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns

    Me and my family still make em. Very difficult though,  you have to be quite skillful with the knife or you are at threat of getting cut!

  13. Alice Quayle says:

    Re: Turnip Lanterns – the Isle of Man tradition – of Hop-Tu-Naa

    What you are carving there IS a turnip! The southerners call them swedes but until a few years ago they were always called turnips here – ie as a kid we carved turnip lanterns and is the same veg you used. Also sometimes called ‘moots’.
    We use them the right way up and use the stem end as a chimney.
    drill two holes quite near the top (above the ‘ears’) to tie string in.
    Then as kids we would put a lit candle in and carry them around the neighbourhood and sing the ‘hop-tu-naa’ song and be given small change donations by the neighbours.

    Hop tu naa is Manx for Halloween, it means the same as hogmanay, means new year, as the 1st november was the start of the celtic new year. Pronounce it ‘hop-chew-nay’
    (nay as rhymes with say)

    Most people I know who grew up here are fond of the smell of roasting turnip mixed with candles burning as they associate it with hop tu naa, sillyness, eating apples strung up hanging from doorways, and free money!

    Drilling out the turnip-
    Nowadays people mostly use an electric drill with appropriate fittings a nice wide bit to drill out the inside, and a smaller one for the chimney, and smaller again for the string holes.

    Manx National Heritage have revived the turnip carving by putting on a production line drilling out the moots at their farm in cregneash ~


    The modern hop-tu-naa song (Douglas version)

    Hop-tu-Naa, Hop-tu-Naa,
    My mother’s gone away
    And she won’t be back until the morning
    Jinnie the Witch flew over the house
    To fetch the stick to lather the mouse
    Hop-tu-Naa, Hop-tu-Naa,
    My mother’s gone away
    And she won’t be back until the morning



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