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Photo Article: Not Halloween but Hop-tu-Naa in Bristol

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 1 November 2016

The younger generation suggested half term pumpkin carving. But I could not find a pumpkin in the local stores as all the chavs seemed to have got there ahead of me. But I spotted a turnip and, remembering my time in the Isle of Man, Halloween became Hop-tu-Naa.

The Manx folks do not celebrate Halloween or All Souls Night but instead Hop-tu-Naa which is the old Celtic New Year. Scotland's Hogmanay comes from the same word but the Scots moved their New Year to coincide with the Christian New Year. The end of October is when those in the old pre-Christian world noted that harvests had finished and it was getting too dangerous to fish at sea and settled down for the winter.

And so the Manx folks have their own traditions which pre-date so much of the modern, American and commercially driven aspects of a modern mainland Halloween. And one Manx habit is carving a turnip rather than a pumpkin.

The flesh, as with that of a pumpkin, can form the basis of a pretty decent soup - this year for us it was a salmon based offering with a hint of mackerel.

And thus, to my friends still resident in the Isle of Man, I wish you all a happy Hop-tu-Naa and hope that you avoided any unpleasant encounters last night with Jinny the Witch.

And the finished product

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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