Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives CanadaSymbol of the Government of Canada
Français - Version française de cette pageHome - The main page of the Institution's websiteContact Us - Institutional contact informationHelp - Information about using the institutional websiteSearch - Search the institutional websitecanada.gc.ca - Government of Canada website

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Banner: The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement
IntroductionExplore the Communities
  Section title: Activities

Craft

Carved Turnip Head

In Ireland, people celebrated Hallowe'en long before the tradition became popular in North America. This festival was called Samhain or Celtic New Year. At Samhain, people celebrated by carving turnip Jack-o'-lanterns. Irish immigrants brought the tradition with them to North America in the 1840s. Pumpkins were plentiful in the New World, and easy to carve, so eventually they were used instead of turnips.

Materials

  • turnip
  • marker
  • knife
    Note: Ask an adult to help you because turnips are much harder to carve than pumpkins.
  • spoon or melon baller
  • newspaper

Instructions

 
Materials needed for a carved turnip head.   Step 1. Slice the top off the turnip.
 
Step 2. Hollow out the turnip, leaving a wall about 1 cm (½ inch) thick.   Step 3. Draw your face on the turnip. (If you like, research Celtic art and try a Celtic face.)

 
Step 4. Carefully carve the face.   Your Irish turnip head is done! (Keep your turnip head fresh longer by placing it in cold water if you're not using it right away.)

Under adult supervision, turnip heads can be taken outside and lit with tea lights or small candles.

Proactive Disclosure