Pumpkin Season - History of the Jack-o-Lantern
Its pumpkin season and time to don our front steps and tabletops with jack-o-lanterns. This fall tradition dates back several centuries to a man nicknamed Stingy Jack.
The Irish myth says Jack made a deal with the devil and tricked him into not claiming his soul. When Jack died God would not allow him into heaven and the devil would not allow him into hell. Instead the devil sent him into the night with just a burning coal.
Jack placed the coal in a carved out turnip and is said to be still be roaming the earth. The Irish began referring to him as Jack of the lantern and eventually Jack O’ lantern.
Folks began carving and placing turnips and potatoes in their windows to scare away Stingy Jack. When the Irish arrived in the U.S. they discovered pumpkins made the perfect Jack O’ lanterns. The tradition continues to this day.
A bit more information
Pumpkins have been a part of the diet for centuries. Native Americans roasted long strips of pumpkins in open fires and ate them. Colonists made pumpkin pie by cutting off the top of the pumpkin and scooping out the seeds. They filled the cavity with milk, spice and honey and then baked the pumpkin in hot ashes.