PUMPKIN carving and apple bobbing are well known Halloween traditions, but where do their roots actually lie?

The mysterious rituals of All Hallows Eve are being explained at RHS Garden Bridgewater in Walkden which has put together a special family event.

Displays include A Halloween Harvest Tale display, where the horticultural history of Halloween traditions are explained.

The event has been put on in conjunction with RHS Lindley Library.

Antonia Harland Lang, Exhibitions and Event Co-ordinator at the RHS Lindley Library, said: “Folklore and traditions around the Halloween period continue to inspire many of the fun elements people enjoy today, but they also give an incredible insight into the horticultural practices of the past."

The Bolton News: TRADITIONS: RHS Garden Bridgewater. Picture RHS/Nina Agnew

TRADITIONS: RHS Garden Bridgewater. Picture RHS/Nina Agnew

Modern day Halloween celebrations are thought to have their origins in Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that took place at ‘summer’s end’ and celebrated the last harvest of the year. Halloween has therefore always been connected to the growing year, and consequently many of the associated rituals involve seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Apples feature in many Halloween ceremonies, largely due to the apple harvest falling at the same time as Halloween celebrations – though when cut through the middle apples were said to reveal the witch's five-pointed star, and as a result it has also long been held as a symbol of magic

Creating lanterns to scare off ghouls remains one of the most popular Halloween traditions, and is thought to have originated in England, Ireland and Scotland. However, pumpkins and other winter squash only arrived in Europe in the 1500s, so before that faces were carved into turnips and other hard-skinned autumn vegetables such as turnips, swede or beetroot.

Kale may now be a fashionable health food, but in the past kale stalks were used to predict future romances, as described by Robert Burns in his poem “Halloween”, published in 1785. The length and shape of the stalk was said to represent your future partner’s height and figure, while the amount of soil around the roots represented wealth.

In Scotland and Northern England, Halloween was historically known as Nut-Crack Night, as couples would throw recently-harvested hazelnuts or chestnuts into the fire to predict their romantic future. If the nut burned quietly they would have a happy union, however, if it hissed and crackled a more unsettled future was in store.

The Halloween themed event runs until Sunday, November 7 at the £35 M RHS Garden Bridgewater.

Situated on the old Worsley Hall estate, the garden has been four years in the making with a quarter of a million plants in the ground, opening in May.