Pumpkin History – Irish legend and Traditions

Pumpkin History

What are Pumpkins

Pumpkins are round with a smooth orange skin slightly ribbed. Inside the thick shell is the seeds and pulp, Pumpkins have been used in many ways. in 2 suck big events like cooking and Halloween.

Pumpkin History for Halloween

We didn’t always use pumpkins for carving for Halloween, We used to make turnip lantern as defined by Thomas Darlington in 1887  in a volume called The Folk-Speech of South Cheshire as. A lantern-like shell made by scooping out of the inside of a turnip, carving the shell into a rude representation of the human face, and placing a lighted candle inside it.

Over time, the term for Turnip lantern came to be known as jack-o-lantern. It was reported in some parts of Great Britain carrying turnip lanterns or jack-o-lantern was regarded as a form of pranksterism. In Thomas Darlington book he writes: “It is a common device of mischievous lads for frightening belated wayfarers on the road.”

It was also known for Catholic children to carry jack-o-lanterns to people’s doors to represent the souls of the dead while begging for soul cakes on Hallowmas (All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. They were also carried by parading celebrants on the night of Guy Fawkes – Bonfire night.

There is a huge list of myths, folklore and traditions to why we use jack-o-lanterns, The main reason was to scare off the spirits. and the other for stingy jack.

Where did the term jack-o-lantern come from

An old Irish folklore tells a story of Stingy Jack, An Irish man who tried to trick the Devil into thinking he would not end up going to hell for all his sins. When jack died and wondered to the heaven gates, He found out he was barred from heaven. With this unfortunate event. He journeyed down to the gates of hell to demand his due.

And the devil turned him away and told him he had to live on the earth plane for all eternity with nothing but 2 things. A lantern and a burning flare from the fire of hell itself. for Jack himself to see his way across earth’s plane. therefore, we have the name Jack O’Lantern.

There are many told folklore story to this jack. and how Jack O’Lantern come about.

When did we use pumpkins?

It wasn’t until the Irish took the idea of carving turnips and other fruits overseas to America. The Americans then used the idea on the pumpkins and found it easier to carve than turnips. So we thank the Americans for innovating the carving to pumpkins.

Either way Pumpkins will always have this mysterious place towards Halloween for the British people. other countries have their own folklore and traditions towards pumpkins, turnips, and jack o lanterns.