spunky The Punky Night Legend

From The National Trust Guide to Traditional Customs of Britain by Brian Shuel.

Punky Night at Hinton St George is one of the gentlest, cosaiest customs of the year even though it can be pretty cold on the last Thursday in October,

Local legend relates the date, and the whole business to the fair which once flourished in Chiselborough, three and a half miles to the east. Hinton men always went to this fair; inevitably they failed to return home at the end of the day. The women had to go out looking for them carrying their home-made lanterns, known locally as 'punkies'. This annual round-up of drunken husbands became jocularly known as 'Punky Night'. It is certainly a good story, showing a fine disregard for all the similar traditions which attend Hallowe'en all over the country, if not the entire world.


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