A Turnip Lantern

Back in Scotland when I was young, pumpkins were something we only saw on television or in books, the stuff of Disneyfied fairytales. Instead we carved our Hallowe’en lanterns out of turnips (that’s a swede to all you sassenachs out there).

A Turnip Lantern

Turnips are small and dense, and a nightmare to hollow out, but with their purpley-green complexions and wrinkly, knarled skin, much more chilling than the more modern pumpkin. A little bit of research reveals that turnip lanterns have a long history, probably originating in the Highlands as an attempt to keep malevolent spirits at bay on that eerie night when the flimsy barrier between this world and the next is at its weakest. Thread a string through it to make a handle, and you are all set for a night of guising.

Small, creepy, and most definitely magical!

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3 Responses to “A Turnip Lantern”

  1. Thank you very much for making us ‘travelling’ in time, space and cultures.

  2. Now you have me thinking … what else can I turn into a lantern? Hmm, now I might have to experiment! Brilliant post, I’d forgotten about carving turnips as well as pumpkins, lovely memory – thanks! 🙂

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