The past, present & future of jack-o-lanterns
Why do we carve pumpkins? Why do we call them jack-o-lanterns? I'll tell you.
Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 08:34 AM
Due to flooding caused by Hurricane Irene, the pumpkin crop in the Northeast has been suffering
. There'll likely be a spike in pumpkin prices for the Halloween season. Those ready to carve up some jack-o-lanterns can pay a little extra or perhaps get back to a tradition they might not be familiar with.
This adorable produce sculpture is a traditional Irish jack-o-lantern. Originally made from turnips
or potatoes, the jack-o-lantern comes from the story of Stingy Jack. According to legend
, Jack was too sinful for heaven and was on the bad side of the Devil so after he died he was forced to roam the Earth with only a hot coal in a carved out turnip. He became known as "Jack of the lantern" and Irish and Scottish people would carve similar lanterns to deter Jack from haunting them.
When the Irish began immigrating to the United States, they discovered pumpkins and saw how much easier they were to carve. The tradition morphed. So this year, to save some green, it could be fun to revive an old tradition. If making a turnip pie with the innards doesn't do it for you, you can always get creative and make use of all those unwanted cantaloupes
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.