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Manx Customs and Traditions - Hop-tu-naa Turnip Carving: An ancient Manx tradition

Published on 21 Oct 2016

Hop-tu-naa is the oldest continuously-existing tradition in the Isle of Man, and turnip lanterns are a central part of this.

Celebrated on the 31st of October, Hop-tu-naa is the Manx equivalent of Halloween, with some very important differences. Unmistakably, one of the key features of hop-tu-naa is the "moot" (turnip), which is hollowed out and decorated.

There is a traditional craft to the preparation of the moot, with important regional differences (which today form the basis of another Hop-tu-naa tradition: pub or work-place arguments!). Key questions include: root as handle or hat; flake off the skin or cut right through; a single spooky face or a range of symbolic images?

The Peel tradition is one of the most remarkable, and one of the most endangered.

In this short film, Sue Woolley talks us through the key features of a traditional Peel turnip and reflects on its place in Manx culture, and why we should strive to keep the tradition alive.

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