Monday, 31 October, 2016
Halloween and pumpkin. They just belong together.
But why is that?
Have you ever heard of Jack o' Lantern? Well, but most likely many of you have already scooped out the insides of a pumpkin, carved scary faces into it and displayed it in your window or on your stoop? We should show respect for all those slaughtered, gutted squash by knowing the story behind their Halloween fate.
The name Jack o' Lantern is reputed to be of British origin (from the 17th century) when it literally meant "man with a lantern" (night watchman).
In the course of time it became the popular term for a lantern made by scooping out the innards of a turnip, carving a human face into it, and placing a candle inside it. In Great Britain those turnip lanterns were sometimes used by impudent lads to scare wayfarers on rural roads.
On Hallowmas (the Archaic term for All Saints' Day), poor people would visit the houses of wealthier families, carrying Jack-o'-Lanterns, which represented the souls of the dead.
They prayed and sang songs for the homeowners’ dead relatives and then begged for the so-called soul cakes (small round cakes that were baked for All Souls' Day).
Irish immigrants brought the custom to North America, where the more commonly available pumpkin made the perfect Jack o' Lantern.
Happy Halloween everybody!