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'Turn Up' for Turnips! 20 October 2008

This October Half Term, Manx National Heritage is inviting children to celebrate a traditional Manx ‘Hop tu Naa’ and ‘Turn up’ for Turnips at the National Folk Museum where there’ll be a FREE turnip for every child visiting Cregneash from Monday 27th to Friday 31st October. A carved turnip lantern

The humble turnip has traditionally played an important part in Manx Hop tu Naa celebrations. Turnips were hollowed out and decorated to make turnip lanterns carried by the children as they went from house to house singing the Hop tu naa song in return for a reward of an apple, or even a penny or some sweets.

The turnip lanterns were usually carved with a face on the front and stars, moons and other patterns on the back. Some people would decorate their turnips with extra features such as glass marbles for eyes or a carrot for the nose.

Yvonne Cresswell, Social History Curator for Manx National Heritage said:

“The final touch for everyone though would be to put a small candle in the lantern, so that it glowed in the dark as the children went down the road (trying to make sure the candle did not blow out if it was windy!)”

The turnip lantern is an important part not just of Manx Hop tu naa, but also of Halloween celebrations around the World. In particular, turnip lanterns were very popular in Ireland and theory has it that 19th century Irish migrants took their turnip lantern traditions with them to America where the tradition continued but using a local vegetable, the pumpkin.

‘Turn up’ for Turnips has been launched to coincide with the highly successful Hop tu Naa event at Cregneash which will be held on Sunday 26th October 2008. There’ll be a free turnip for every child visiting the National Folk Museum between Monday 27th October 2008 and Friday 31st October 2008 and an opportunity to collect a Hop tu naa information sheet with suggestions on how to decorate your turnip, together with the words for the traditional Hop tu naa songs!

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