Fuck You, Turnip

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Author’s Note: I started off trying to make this a personal essay on what the Turnip Sacrifice meant to me. That didn’t work. Something in me resisted strongly. I’ve realized that I don’t want to explain. It works for me to open the ritual up to others so that they get what they want out of it and I get what I want out of it. And part of what I get out of it is not having to have it make sense or be justified/understood. It’s an experience and a ritual of the unconscious, and that is what it is.






It’s that time again…time to put all the shitty parts of the year into a root vegetable and set them on fire.


The turnip sacrifice started as a joke and morphed into a satisfying ritual for cleansing all the mental and emotional SHIT that accumulated over the year. It’s my household’s way of clearing out the emotional cache and marking the changing of the year. (Years of living on an educational schedule means fall feels more like the start of a new year than January does.) The ritual itself is irreverent.


We carve a face into a turnip (or a rutabaga) and give it a happy rainbow sign that says some variation of “FUCK U YEAR.” The turnip head is then stuffed with descriptions of all the crap that happened in the previous year. It sits on the kitchen counter glaring at us for a while…anticipating its demise. Then, on the night of the sacrifice, we haul it out to a local park, make a BBQ pit pyre out of kindling and paper (political flyers, nasty-o-grams, etc.), light it up, and watch our troubles burn. Marshmallows and profanity are involved. When the turnip is thoroughly charred (and in no way edible) we throw its blackened remains into the river.


Setting root vegetables on fire doesn’t do anything to concretely or physically make our next year better. It isn’t magic, it’s psychology. It’s acknowledgement and release. It’s ritual and community. It’s fun and ridiculous. It helps us cope. It’s an ending.


Endings matter.


Anyone who wants the shitty parts of their past year roasted over an open flame and ritually killed is welcome to comment so. Comment with what you want burned (you can be as cryptic as you want) — I’ll put it in the turnip sacrifice and post the photos (before, during, and after) here for your enjoyment.

DocParadiseWe are Doc Paradise, Super-Villain and amoral genius CEO of Paradise Labs. With our army of minions, we provide “Evil Overlord” analysis to Super-Heroes and Super-Villains alike. I am also the person behind the persona of Doc Paradise. I’m a mediator, writer, and non-binary geek who works in engineering. I enjoy exploring issues of communication, relationships, conflict, health, and “what humans do”. I have opinions. Lots of opinions.

28 Responses to “Fuck You, Turnip”

  1. Kazoogrrl says:

    I am headed to a fall bonfire this weekend, I'm going to pass this along to the hostess.

    And I would love it if you could burn up some miscommunication for me (and probably everyone), I feel it's really made this year tougher than than usual.

  2. meat lord says:

    This is AWESOME.

  3. CleverManka says:

    Oh god, what don't I want included in your turnip this year? I think writing THIS FUCKING FATIGUE on a scrap of paper (an old medical bill would be appropriate) should suffice.

  4. vladazhael says:

    Devastating loss and crippling anxiety, especially that of the past week.

    All the things that lead me into these situations, too: codependency, loneliness, fear of loneliness, homesickness, late blooming, chronic anxiety.

  5. Rillquiet says:

    The burning neep can take having a close friend moving away, watching another friend go through an acrimonious divorce, and of course alllll this whole electoral trashfire.

    In honor of the vegetable's sacrifice, I am compelled to share this marvelous story about how far one man went for his turnips: Crops before airdrops.

  6. Lynn says:

    It turned out okay, but I would be okay with burning the memory of our apartment move this summer. Especially the sleazy landlords in our old place that have been forcing all the singles and couples out so they can create three bedroom apartments (illegally) out of loft layouts and charge 30% more for a bunch of unwitting college kids to live crammed in 3 or 4 to a unit in bedrooms with no windows.

    Also those four months when I was getting little sleep and walking around in a barely controlled rage can bite it, too.

  7. silverandsnow says:

    I cheerfully contribute the ex who is making life unnecessarily stressful for someone close to me.

    This is a brilliant ritual and if I may I will suggest it to the people in my life who would enjoy it as much as I know I would. Thank you for sharing!

  8. SimperLegens says:

    This is AMAZING, thank you for bringing the turnip in my life.

    Can you please put in my parents' and mother-in-law's (a) willingness to vote for Trump; (b) re-posting of shitty racist transphobic memes on FB; and (c) refusal to believe Snopes or any other fact-checker?

  9. Jane says:

    You are a majestic Neep Witch and this is perfect. Can you please burn to the ground the tick that bit me this summer and resulting Lyme's disease?

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