When we think of Halloween multiple images automatically come to our minds: the carved pumpkin with a candle, Michael Myers killing and scaring everyone, and of course, bags filled with candies.
But do you know the origin of pumpkin carving? The name of these carved pumpkins is Jack-O’-Lantern and its origin is not clear although it is known that first appeared in Britain and Ireland. One version states that the name comes from a night watchman with a lantern, other version says Jack was a farmer who trapped the Devil with a trick and only after the Devil promised Jack he would never take his soul Jack released him. When Jack died he was doomed to wander all the eternity because his soul was barred from both heaven and hell.
Once dead, Jack soon realized we wouldn’t get rest for his soul and regretted having trapped the Devil. The latter kept his promise and mockingly sent Jack an ember from hell so Jack could light his way while wandering the Earth aimlessly looking for rest. Jack took the ember and placed it inside a carved turnip and he was then known as Jack-O’-Lantern. Those who saw Jack with the lighted turnip were afraid of him so they started carving turnips and beets to place them in their windows to keep the evil away (especially vampires).
It will be in the United States than turnips and beets will be replaced by pumpkins and the first to be carved were not related to Halloween but to the harvest season of gourds. It will be years later -according to records in 1866- when carved pumpkins begin to be used as a symbol of Halloween. Since then, this practice has spread to many countries and it’s known worldwide.
Have you ever carved a pumpkin? Watch this video if you want to learn how to do it