Isle of Man

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Man, Isle of,

island and dependency of the British crown (2015 est. pop. 83,000), 227 sq mi (588 sq km), off Great Britain, in the Irish Sea. The coast is rocky with precipitous cliffs; the Calf of Man is a detached rocky islet off the southwest coast. The island's towns include DouglasDouglas,
city (1991 pop. 19,950), capital of the Isle of Man, Great Britain. It is a popular resort, connected by rail to Ramsey and Port Erin, on the Irish Sea. Tourism is the chief industry. There are also light-engineering, knitting, and carpet-weaving factories.
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 (the capital), Peel, Ramsey, and Castletown. The rounded hills in the center of the island rise to 2,034 ft (620 m) at Snaefell. The beautiful scenery and extremely mild climate (subtropical plants are grown without protection) make the island a popular resort. The people are mainly of Manx (Norse-Celtic) and British descent, Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and other denominations), and speak English and Manx Gaelic.

The economy relies on offshore banking, financial services, high-tech manufacturing, and tourism. Agriculture and fishing, once the economic mainstays, have declined. Nonetheless, oats, barley, turnips, and potatoes are grown, and cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry are raised. Dairying and fishing remain somewhat important, and Manx tweeds are made from local wool.

The monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by the lieutenant governor, is the head of state. The government is headed by the chief minister, who is elected by the legislature. The Isle of Man's bicameral legislature, the Tynwald, consists of the 11-seat Legislative Council, whose members are appointed, and the 24-seat House of Keys, whose members are popularly elected for five-year terms. Dating to the 10th cent., the Tynwald is the world's oldest continuous legislative assembly (Iceland's AlthingAlthing
[Icel.,=general diet], parliament of Iceland. This assembly, the oldest in Europe, was convened at Thingvellir, SW Iceland, in 930. It was dissolved in 1800, was revived as an advisory body to the Danish monarchy in 1845, and in 1874, when Iceland was granted a
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 was established earlier but was abolished for several decades in the 19th cent.).

Traces of occupants of the isle from Neolithic times exist. Of interest are ancient crosses and other stone monuments, a round tower, an old fort, and castles. Occupied by Vikings in the 9th cent., the island was a dependency of Norway until 1266, when it passed to Scotland. From the 14th to the 18th cent. (except for brief periods when it reverted to the English crown) it belonged to the earls of Salisbury and of Derby. Since 1765, when Parliament purchased it from the Duke of Atholl, the isle has been a dependency of the crown, but it is not subject to acts of the British Parliament.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Man, Isle of


an island in the Irish Sea belonging to Great Britain. Area, approximately 600 sq km; maximum elevation, 619 m. Population, 56, 200 (1971, estimate). The climate is temperate marine. There is meadow-type vegetation. Cattle are raised and land is cultivated. The Isle of Man has seaside resorts. Its capital and principal port is Douglas.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


October 31
Halloween has its ultimate origins in the ancient Celtic harvest festival, Samhain, a time when people believed that the spirits of the dead roamed the earth. Irish settlers brought their Halloween customs—which included bobbing for apples and lighting jack-o'-lanterns—to America in the 1840s.
In the United States children go from house to house in costume—often dressed as ghosts, skeletons, or vampires—on Halloween saying, "Trick or treat!" Though for the most part the threat is in jest, the "trick" part of the children's cry carries the implication that if they don't receive a treat, the children will subject that house to some kind of prank, such as marking its windows with a bar of soap or throwing eggs at it. Most receive treats in the form of candy or money. But Halloween parties and parades are popular with adults as well.
Because nuts were a favorite means of foretelling the future on this night, All Hallows' Eve in England became known as Nutcrack Night . Other British names for the day include Bob Apple Night, Duck (or Dookie ) Apple Night, Crab Apple Night, Thump-the-door Night, and, in Wales, Apple and Candle Night. In the United States it is sometimes referred to as Trick or Treat Night .
See also Mischief Night
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Thomas Jefferson Bldg., Rm. LJG49
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540
202-707-5510; fax: 202-707-2076
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 741
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 519
BkFest-1937, p. 60
BkHolWrld-1986, Oct 31
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 280
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 181, 869, 961
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 191
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 427
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 604
OxYear-1999, p. 436
RelHolCal-2004, p. 275
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 468

Celebrated in: Ireland, Scotland

Halloween (Ireland)
October 31
In Ireland, Halloween is observed with traditional foods and customs that are largely based on superstitions or folk beliefs. One of the dishes served is known as colcannon, or callcannon . It consists of mashed potatoes, parsnips, and chopped onions. A ring, a thimble, a small china doll, and a coin are mixed in, and the one who finds the ring will be married within a year. The one who finds the doll will have children, the one who finds the coin will be wealthy, and the one who finds the thimble will never marry. Barmbrack —a cake made with a ring concealed inside—is a variation on the same theme. Whoever gets the ring in his or her slice will be the first to marry. Sometimes there is a nut inside, and the one who finds the nut will marry a widow or widower. If the kernel of the nut is shriveled, the finder will never marry.
Nuts have traditionally played a role in Halloween celebrations in the British Isles. In England, Halloween is known as Nutcrack Night . In Ireland, a popular superstition involved putting three nuts on the hearth and naming them after lovers. If one of the nuts cracked or jumped, that lover would be unfaithful; if it began to burn, it meant that he was interested. If a girl named one of the nuts after herself and it burned together with the nut named after her lover, it meant that they would be married.
The jack-o'-lantern, according to the Irish, was the invention of a man named Jack who was too greedy to get into heaven and couldn't get into hell because he had tricked the devil. The devil threw him a lighted coal from hell instead, and Jack stuck it in the turnip he was eating. According to the legend, he used it to light his way as he wandered the earth looking for a final resting place.
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 742
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 519
BkHolWrld-1986, Oct 31
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 194
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 604
OxYear-1999, p. 436

Celebrated in: Ireland

Halloween (Isle of Man)
October 31
In the early part of this century, Halloween was referred to as Thump-the-Door Night on the Isle of Man because boys would gather outside the house of someone they didn't like and bombard the door with turnips or cabbages until the inhabitants gave them some money to make them go away—much like the trick-or-treating that goes on in the United States. As might be expected, the game occasionally got out of control, provoking complaints and sometimes legal action. Eventually it fell out of favor.
Halloween is commonly called Hollantide on the Isle of Man because there was a time when it marked the beginning of the church year. This was based on the Celtic custom of beginning the year in November instead of in January.
DictDays-1988, p. 120
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 196
OxYear-1999, p. 460

Halloween (New Orleans, Louisiana)
October 31
Halloween is a spooky and macabre celebration in New Orleans, La., when costumed revelers parade up and down Bourbon Street and actors dressed as legendary characters are on the streets to narrate their grisly histories. The sheriff's Haunted House in City Park is a standard feature, and a Ghost Train rolls through the park while costumed police officers jump out of bushes to spook the riders. The Voodoo Museum usually offers a special Halloween ritual in which people may see voodoo rites. Walking tours take visitors to such haunts as Le Pretre House, where a Turkish sultan and his five wives were murdered one night in 1792; it is said that their ghosts still have noisy parties.
On a more solemn note, the St. Louis Cathedral holds vigil services on Halloween, and several masses on All Saints' Day. On the afternoon of that day, the archbishop leaves the cathedral for St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to bless the newly scrubbed and decorated tombs.
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau
2020 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130
800-672-6124 or 504-566-5011; fax: 504-566-5046

Celebrated in: Louisiana

Halloween (Scotland)
October 31
Many of the traditional customs associated with Halloween in Scotland are described in the famous poem of that name by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, although not all of them are still observed. "Pulling the kail" referred to the custom of sending boys and girls out into the garden (or kailyard) blindfolded. They were instructed to pull up the first plant they encountered and bring it into the house, where its size, shape, and texture would reveal the appearance and disposition of the finder's future husband or wife. It was also believed that by eating an apple in front of a mirror, a young woman could see the reflection of her future mate peering over her shoulder.
Another custom referred to by Burns was known as "The Three Dishes," or Luggies . One was filled with clean water, one with dirty water, and one remained empty. They were arranged on the hearth, and as people were led into the room blindfolded, they would dip their fingers into one of the bowls. Choosing the clean water indicated that one would marry a maiden (or bachelor); the dirty water indicated marriage to a widow (or widower). The empty dish meant that the person was destined never to marry.
Dipping the shift was another popular superstition regarding marital prospects. If someone dipped a shirt-sleeve in a south-running stream and hung it up by the fire to dry, the apparition of the person's future mate would come in to turn the sleeve.
Superstition surrounded death as well as marriage. It was customary on Halloween for each member of the family to put a stone in the fire and mark a circle around it. When the fire went out, the ashes were raked over the stones. If one of the stones was found out of place the next morning, it means that the person to whom it belonged would die within the year.
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 742
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 520
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 193
OxYear-1999, p. 436

Celebrated in: Scotland

Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.