View Full Version : A Pumpkin's Perspective

10-24-2006, 08:23 AM

Thought I'd post this since Halloween is right around the corner.

10-24-2006, 09:20 AM
That was excellent!

10-24-2006, 12:44 PM
That was disturbing :eek:

It is kind of an odd tradition when you think about it. Anybody know where it came from?

Nice to see Nick Drake getting some work though.

10-24-2006, 01:28 PM
That was disturbing :eek:

It is kind of an odd tradition when you think about it. Anybody know where it came from?


Tradition rooted in folklore

An Irish legend tells of Jack, a lazy but shrewd farmer who used a cross to trick the Devil, then refused to free him unless he agreed to never let Jack into Hell. The Devil agreed. When Jack died, the Devil wouldn't let him into Hell. So, Jack carved out one of his turnips, put a candle inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He was known as "Jack of the Lantern", or Jack-o'-Lantern.

There are variations on the legend. Some of which include:

* The Devil mockingly tossing a coal from the fires of Hell at Jack, which Jack then places in the turnip.
* Jack tricking/trapping the Devil a variety of ways, including placing a key or other item in the Devil's pocket when the Devil is suspended in the air or plucking an apple from a tree. Some versions include a "wise and good man" or even God helping Jack to prevail over the Devil.
* Jack's bargain with the Devil being different. In some variations, the deal is only a temporary bargain, but the Devil, embarrassed and vengeful, refuses Jack entry after Jack dies.
* Jack is considered a greedy man and is not allowed into either Heaven or Hell, without anything having to do with the Devil.

Despite the colorful legends, the term jack-o'-lantern originally meant a night watchman, or man with a lantern, with the earliest known use in the mid-17th century; and later, meaning an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp.[1] The names "Jacky Lantern" and "Jack the Lantern" persist in the oral tradition in Newfoundland, refering to the will-o'-the wisp type phenomena, rather than the carved pumpkin jack-o'-lantern.

[edit] A North American tradition

In England, Scotland, and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede.[2] But not until 1837 does jack-o'-lantern appear as a term for a carved vegetable lantern,[3] and the carved lantern does not become associated specifically with Halloween until 1866.[4] Significantly, both occurred not in the British Isles, but in North America.

Historian David J. Skal writes,

Although every modern chronicle of the holiday repeats the claim that vegetable lanterns were a time-honored component of Halloween celebrations in the British Isles, none gives any primary documentation. In fact, none of the major nineteenth-century chronicles of British holidays and folk customs make any mention whatsoever of carved lanterns in connection with Halloween. Neither do any of the standard works of the early twentieth century.[5]

In America, the carved pumpkin was associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became an emblem of Halloween. The poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who was born in 1807, wrote in "The Pumpkin" (1850):

Oh!—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,

When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!

10-24-2006, 05:54 PM
I don't hurt innocent pumpkins