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Why do we carve Pumpkins on Halloween?

History | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Animation

It is said that all evil spirits and ghosts are allowed to come out of hiding during Halloween! Erie?

Significance of the pumpkin in Halloween festivities

Halloween is a tradition and a holiday celebrated in Western countries, where children dress up in costumes and go from house to house asking for trick or treats. The most important Halloween tradition is to carve pumpkins. You might have noticed during Halloween people carve huge pumpkins and light them outside their homes.

This tradition of carving and lighting pumpkins occurs all over the United States. It started in Ireland and is known as the Jack-o’-lantern tradition.

Story of the Jack O’ Lantern?

According to an old traditional Irish legend, there was once a drunk and miserly person named Jack. He was known as, ‘Stingy Jack’. He was very shrewd. So one fine day Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him in a bar. The Devil did, and when it was time to pay the bill Jack asked the Devil to turn himself into a coin. The Devil fell for this trap and changed into a coin but instead of paying the bill, Jack put the devil in his pocket with a silver cross so that the devil wouldn’t change to his original form. Later Jack freed the Devil but only on the condition that the Devil would not take Jack’s soul when he died.

As with every mortal being Stingy Jack also died one day, but he was rejected by God since he was not a sincere person and was not allowed in heaven. He went to hell and since the Devil had promised not to take his soul, Jack was denied entry.

However, the Devil gave Jack a piece of charcoal and told him to make his own hell and light it. Jack put the charcoal in a carved-out turnip and it is believed that he roams the earth as a restless soul along with his lantern ever since. Thus was born Jack-o’-lantern.

People first started carving turnips and potatoes to ward off evil. Later pumpkins took over this tradition as they seemed to be the right fruit – big, ripened at the correct time and native to America.

So people carve pumpkins with scary, ghost like faces. This, the Irish believe stops evil spirits like Stingy Jack from entering their homes during Halloween.