I always wonder how things got started and who started them. With Halloween approaching in just a few days I thought it would be fun to learn about jack-o-lanterns.
The term jack-o-lantern started in Britain in the 17th century. At the time it was common for the British to call a person Jack when they didn’t know his name. So now we know where the “Jack” part of the term came from but what about the o-latern?
The o-lantern term was also commonly used in the 17th century to refer to a man carrying a lantern or a night watchman. And since they may not have known his name the term jack-o-lantern was born. But how did we go from the term jack-o-lantern to carving a pumpkin for Halloween?
Well there are quite a few theories on that. One is it was a Celtic pagan practice to carve out turnips or some other type of root vegetable and then illuminate it to ward off evil spirits. The custom was then carried on by Christians during the feast of All Hallows Eve.
Another more creepy theory is centered around an Irish folklore. There are several versions of this folklore but they all have certain common elements like a man named Jack, the devil and an illuminated turnip with which Jack’s soul aimlessly wanders the earth.
But here in the states during the 19th century, young kids who liked pranks would carve a grotesque face out of a readily available pumpkin to scare unwary people. Eventually this prank became known as jack-o-lantern. Today this has became a widely used and artistic tradition by many for Halloween.
Which is your favorite theory?
Hope you enjoyed this little history snippet. Thanks for stopping by!!!
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