Turnips rather than pumpkins. That dates it ! :)
Yes, it stirred a buried memory that I *think* my mum carved out a turnip for me one year, back in the sixties. Not sure though. I never really bothered with all that stuff.
Halloween was always a big deal for us kids in Ireland, although i can remember as children in the 1950s/early 1960s, going around the doors begging for a "penny for the guy" ....a November 5th bit of business which we'd probably seen in the comics.We did the trick or treat too, which usually involved slipping off a gate or banging door- knockers if the treat wasn't available . Ireland , of course ,was always big on ghosts and the faerie folk. We knew it as the Eve of All Hallows(Saints) and sometimes "Samhain" from the old Celtic myths...a time when the spirit world rubbed up so close to the real world that imps of the perverse could cross the boundary and make mischief. We carved turnips of course , and blacked up our faces with coal and let off penny squibs or tuppeny bangers .My own children later on ,dresssed like goblin punks in binbags and I made their faces up. There was always a bonfire and fireworks , of course and all the traditional apple -feastings and games. I think when the Irish brought it to America the pumpkins were then introduced. I never saw one of those locally until relatively recent times and now the supermarkets are full of them.I imagine that American films were responsible for its re-introduction back into England, because it seems to have been as big in America as in Ireland. I know my daughter, who lives in Liverpool always celebrates it with my granddaughter and her husband is Welsh , so he's into it too....it all pumpkins of course...no turnips.In fact there's a pumpkin field locally where they pick their own, apparently .
I don't recall trick or treat being played around my area of the Midlands here in England until the late 1980s, although there was a custom of hollowing out turnips back in the sixties. It wasn't on the huge scale it is today though. No commercialised Halloween stuff in the shops. I'm sure the resistance to the supernatural aspects of it would have been on religious grounds. Like you said, American films would have brought it back to the fore. On the other hand, every street corner seemed to have kids asking "penny for the guy", and their stuffed guys of various quality. (Some kids used to cheat and just get a mate to wear a mask and lie still! :-)) It's a practice that seems to have totally died out in England now.
Do they not do the "guy" thing for Guy Fawkes on 5th November anymore , either, Lew?
I haven't seen any kids with Guy Fawkes in the streets for years. I suppose when garden bonfires were banned they became superfluous. I suppose the public bonfires have one though but I haven't been to a firework display since... well, sometime last century.
My father was Scottish and he said they had Trick or Treat in the 1930's when he was a boy. And he said it was Scottish immigrants who took Halloween to America but I haven't a clue. One really annoying thing about Guy Fawkes celebrations nowadays is that you hear fireworks going off weeks before November 5th. Some idiots let off fireworks late at night and don't give a damn about the nuisance they cause.
Post a Comment