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Allantide (Cornish: Kalan Gwav, meaning first day of winter, or Nos Kalan Gwav, meaning eve of the first day of winter and Dy' Halan Gwav, meaning day of the first day of winter), also known as Saint Allan's Day or the Feast of Saint Allan,[1] is a Cornish
festival that was traditionally celebrated on the night of 31 October,
as well as the following day time, and known elsewhere as Allhallowtide.[2][3]

The following is a description of the festival as it was celebrated in Penzance at the turn of the 19th century:

:"The shops in Penzance would display Allan apples, which were
highly polished large apples. On the day itself, these apples were
given as gifts to each member of the family as a token of good luck.
Older girls would place these apples under their pillows and hope to
dream of the person whom they would one day marry. A local game is also
recorded where two pieces of wood were nailed together in the shape of a
cross. It was then suspended with 4 candles on each outcrop of the
cross shape. Allan apples would then be suspended under the cross. The
goal of the game was to catch the apples in your mouth, with hot wax
being the penalty for slowness or inaccuracy."

Robert Hunt in his book 'Popular romances of the West of England' describes Allantide in St Ives [4]

THE ancient custom of providing children with a large apple on
Allhallows-eve is still observed, to a great extent, at St Ives.
"Allan-day," as it is called, is the day of days to hundreds' of
children, who would deem it a great misfortune were they to go to bed on
"Allan-night" without the time-honoured Allan apple to hide beneath
their pillows. A quantity of large apples are thus disposed of the sale
of which is dignified by the term Allan Market.

There are a number of divination games recorded including the
throwing of wall nuts in fires to predict the fidelity of partners and
the pouring of molten lead into cold water as a way of predicting the
occupation of future husbands, the shape of the solidified lead somehow
indicating this.[6]

In some parts of Cornwall "Tindle" fires were lit similar in nature to the Coel Coth (Coel Certh) of Wales.[6]

Prior to the 20th Century the parish feast of St Just in Penwith was known as Allantide.[7]




Wed, 31/10/2018