In some parts of Great Britain the 4th November is known as
In ancient times this was the night when all sorts of strange and naughty things were done (i.e.: people used to put things in the wrong place!). Moreover, particularly in the Yorkshire area, children went around singing this song:
‘We’re three jolly miners,
and we’re not worth a pin,
so give us a piece of coal
and we’ll make the kettle sing’
The original aim of their singing was probably to get some coal simply to light fire to cook and make some tea. Later this aim was to raise money for sweets and fireworks to be used on the following night, Bonfire Night.
Nowadays, on ‘Mischief Night’ teenagers and preteens take a degree of license to do mischief in their neighbourhoods. The most popular tricks are toilet papering yards, trees and building, powder-bombing and egging people, cars, homes… and, unfortunately, the ‘modern’ damage can include the less innocent spray-painting of buildings, cars and people!
This annual tradition is celebrated also in other Anglo-Saxon countries. In North America the most common date for Mischief Night is October 30, the day before Halloween.