Punky night

With a close relation to Halloween, Punky (or Punkie) Night is a tradition in Somerset, the south-west of England.
On this night, children carry “punkies” (= lanters) made of swedes* from house to house and sing or chant “Give me a candle, give me a light. If you don’t, you’ll get a fright!”

Punkie night in Somerset

GR8 to Know

A swede is a yellow-orange root vegetable that is similar to carrots and turnips, but fairly larger. It has many names, the Scots calls it neep, American English rutabaga, while snagger or white turnip is also a common name for it (especially in the North.)

No one really knows where the tradition of Punky Night comes from. One belief goes that men who were returning home from the fields on dark autumn evening used to carry lanterns made of these turnip-like vegetables (the swedes).

Punky Night is celebrated on the last Thursday of October all over Somerset (this years its 31 October i.e. on the same day as Halloween).


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