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Allantide Cornwall 2023

Allan apples maketh Allantide

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In Brief

Name: Allantide 2023
Date: Tuesday 31 October 2023
Type: Cornish harvest tradition that takes place in family homes across the Duchy
Suitable for: Families who want to mark a special Cornish tradition in their own way
Location: All across Cornwall!
Price: Free apart from the price of a few red apples!

ALLANTIDE CORNWALL 2023 TAKES PLACE ACROSS THE DUCHY. READ ON FOR A LITTLE FLAVOUR OF THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THIS TRADITIONAL FESTIVAL THAT COINCIDES WITH HALLOWEEN EVERY YEAR…

This is an unusual events listing for Proper Cornwall. Normally we tell you exactly where to go and on what days to enjoy the best events and happenings that take place across the Duchy. But not this time. You see, most of the Allantide Cornwall 2023 events that take place are not for the public. They instead take place inside the homes of Cornish folk at the same time as Halloween celebrations are happening, this year on Tuesday 31 October 2023.

Allantide, many years ago, was a traditional fest that focused on the Allan markets that used to be held in towns across Cornwall during the autumn. And why were they called Allan markets? Because they were named after Allan apples, those huge, sweet and polished red apples that were given as good fortune gifts to friends and family members. Young girls would place these apples under their pillows so they’d dream about their future loves and young boys would do the same for good luck in the future but others would just tuck into these sweet delights straight away on Allantide night or save them for the following day.

Those Allan markets have gone today. But some families still mark Allantide as well as, or in fact instead of, Halloween, giving one another a big red apple or 10 to celebrate the traditional fest. Some people actually still melt metal to mark the occasion. That’s right, you melt metal until it becomes a liquid and then chuck it directly into cold water so that it rapidly cools and makes a unique shape that ‘predicts the future’. If you ask the Allantide metal about your future job you may get a bread shape so you’ll become a baker or perhaps a heart shape so you’ll become a surgeon. Or you could ask the metal about your future love, so, well, you should hope to get that heart again!

Many people consider the Cornish traditional festival of Allantide to be a version of Halloween but it was probably born out of the traditional Feast of St Allan, a sixth century bishop from Quimper in France, and also developed over many years in tandem with the traditional Cornish harvest festivals of old. These autumn events have always been full of superstition, ghosts and magic as the darker nights roll in. Back in the day, church bells used to toll at Allantide to aid the passage of the dead into the spirit world. Walnuts, by the way, were also traditionally tossed into fires by married couples to make sure they were true to each other over the coming months.

Most people in Cornwall only celebrate Halloween on 31 October. But there are some folk who still practice the Allantide traditions. So what will you do for Allantide 2023? We suggest grabbing a few red apples, eating them over the course of the evening and learning all about those Cornish traditions that make the Duchy the magical land we all know and love today.