In recent years Halloween has become very popular in parts of Britain where it had been completely unknown before, and by that I mean England. Unfortunately it is the American version of it featuring pumpkins, which are completely alien growths in Britain. Sadly, because there are now no Scottish owned supermarkets we aren’t even able to buy the big turnips which are a necessity for making the carved turnip lanterns which ward off evil spirits.
And here it is lit.
I had to make do with this small turnip and yes, I do know that in England this is what is called a swede, but as far as we are concerned there is nothing Scandinavian about it at all! Say no to pumpkins, unless you happen to be American. Seriously, I once carved a pumpkin and I couldn’t believe how horrible it smelled, just like sick. How could anyone possibly eat them, maybe that one was over-ripe. Are they supposed to smell of sick.
When I was a wee girl Hallowe’en was a really big thing and there were always school/Brownies/Scout parties where we dooked for apples and ate huge pancakes which had been spread with black treacle and strung up across the room. With hands behind your back and up on tiptoe to reach the pancakes, there was just no way you could eat them without getting your hair and face covered with treacle. We were all dressed up as witches, warlocks, ghosts or pirates too. Such fun!!
When we went out dressed like that it was called ‘guising’, obviously because you were in disguise. We were only allowed to visit the houses of friends or relatives and we had to sing a song or tell jokes, something to entertain the householders anyway. In return we would be given some fruit, nuts or sweets and sometimes a small amount of money.
There was none of this terrible chaos that seems to go on nowadays, especially in England, where they seem to have got the wrong end of the stick altogether.
Hallowe’en is the old pagan festival signifying the end of summertime, which it is literally as we’ve just moved the clocks back an hour and we’re now on Greenwich Mean Time.