Allantide is a Cornish festival signifying the end of summer (equivalent to Halloween). It is traditionally celebrated on the night of the 31st October and the following day. Also known as Allan Night or Allan Day it gets it’s name from the little known Celtic Saint, St Allen or Arlan.
In Cornish, Allantide is “Kalan Gwav”, meaning first day of winter, centres around juicy red apples. People gave big, shiny (highly polished) red apples to friends and family to bring good luck. Local Allan apple markets were commonly held before the big day.
Older girls would place an Allen apple under their pillow believing that they might see in their dreams the person they might marry in the future.
A traditional Cornish jack-o’-lantern was not made from a pumpkin but instead one of the many locals turnips.
Records show a game played to celebrate Allantide was made by joining two planks of wood together in a cross shape. The cross was then hung from the ceiling with a candle fixed to each point. Allan apples were then hung under the wooden cross. The aim of the game was to catch the apples in your mouth without getting covered in hot wax! Not sure many would play that these days.
Walnuts were often thrown into the hot fire as a way of trying to predict if your partner was being true. Some people attempted to see what their husband’s future occupation would be by carrying out a ritual involving pouring molten lead into cold water and interpreting the resulting shape.
As most Halloween traditions seem to come from America now, it is good to have a few local ones to observe as well.
So, don’t forget to put a glossy red Allan apple under your for pillow for luck on the 31st October, and eat it up in the morning. #Allantide.
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