This film is part of Free

Punky Lantern Procession at Dalwood

The children of Dalwood process with their punky lanterns of mangelwurzels

News 1963 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


In Dalwood East Devon mangelwurzerls are the lantern of choice for Punky Night. Held at the end of October and thought to be celebrated since the turn of the twentieth century, villagers traditionally hollow out mangelwurzels, a type of turnip for animal fodder and make them into lanterns known as punkies. A Punky Night Procession walks around the village at dusk.

Punky Night is popular just across the county border in the South Somerset area. Its origins are unknown although a story about wives hauling their drunken menfolk back after a market fair at Chiselborough with the chanting of rhymes in celebration, seems most likely. The wives used hollowed out mangelwurzels as lanterns to find their way to and from the fair on what was thought to be, a stormy night.