30 October 2011

Halloween Is Coming...

... the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in an old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny,
a ha' penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha' penny,
God bless you.

I learned this rhyme from a young girl while I was living in Scotland. She had a turnip lantern and was dressed up as a witch. She remined me of a similar custom we have in Finland, but at Easter. Halloween isn't a traditional festival in Finland, although we do celebrate All Hallows' Day. However, Halloween has slowly been creeping in among our festivals over the years, and why not? We need a little fun this dreary and dark season. Therefore I decided to embrace Halloween and make myself a pumpkin to cheer things up a little. I found the pattern in Anne-Pia Godske Rasmussen's book Sy liv i lapparna (From 2002, so probably out of print).

Happy Halloween!


  1. I love that little pumpkin. I have a few handcrafted pumpkins, never get around to making some myself.

    You do know that that is a Christmas carol, not a Halloween song.

  2. Thanks Ruth Anne! I'm glad you told me that this rhyme is also a Christmas carol. I'm fascinated by folklore and how traditional elements are used in different ways among different groups. In Scotland this was the rhyme used by the 'guisers' that I met. Guisers is what the Scottish children that are trick-or-treating are called. Sting also sings the same rhyme in his song 'Soul Cake' on the album 'If on a Winter's Night' (2009). So it seems that the rhyme is used for both festivals, which perhaps isn't very surprising since both Christmas and All Hallows are times when, historically, those less fortunate among us wandered from door to door asking for "any good thing to make us all merry". Have a great week!

  3. More about the rhyme in question: the folklorist in me was awakend by Ruth Anne's observation, and I did a little more research on the rhyme. It turns out that Sting does refer to Christmas in his song, but that the soul cake he sings about is connected to Halloween. Very confusing, but that is usually the case with folk traditions. There's a lot of pick and mix, and that's what makes it all so intriguing. :D