The Pumpkin-Halloween Connection


Are you or your kids excited about Halloween?

Why do we celebrate it? Where and how did it all begin? And seeing that my book, The Roll-Away Pumpkin, is currently on Amazon’s bestseller list under the Halloween category, it seems timely to dig a little and find out why pumpkins are associated with Halloween.

Here’s what I found out: There’s an Irish myth about a certain Stingy Jack who was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. He was locked out of heaven (thanks, Bruno Mars! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) and locked out of hell as well! What did Stingy Jack do to earn such a punishment? Apparently, he tricked the Devil for his own monetary gain. Not only did poor Stingy Jack suffer from such a harsh punishment, the Irish started carving demonic faces out of turnips as well to scare poor Jack’s wandering soul away.

Fast-forward to when the Irish immigrated to the US, they soon discovered an abundance of pumpkins that were native to the region, and so they began carving jack-o-lanterns from those. And why not, right? Pumpkins are larger and, I suppose, far easier to carve than turnips.

But what’s the jack-o’-lantern connection with Halloween? If you still care to know, let’s continue.

Have you heard of an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in)? In ancient Britain and Ireland, Samhain marked the end of summer. On the evening of the 31st October, it was believed that the souls of the departed returned to earth to visit their homes. Traditions from Samhain remain today, such as wearing disguises to hide yourself from the souls wandering your home. So, what disguise will you be wearing this Halloween?

And as for poor Stingy Jack, his myth got incorporated into Halloween as well, and as you know, we’ve been carving pumpkins ever since.

Let me just give a shout-out to Encyclopedia Brittanica for being my source of information for the above. Thanks, brittanica.com.

And I thank you for visiting my blog. Hope you’ll come back and visit once in a while.

Happy jack-o’-lantern carving!

Junia

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