At the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia, Illinois, we love pumpkins! There are so many wonderful things you can do with a pumpkin. Out of the many fall crops, the pumpkin is one of the most versatile harvest fruits.
But the one thing everybody loves to use their pumpkin for is Jack-o’-lanterns. But why? Who thought to carve up a pumpkin and put a candle inside?
Well, here is a brief answer to that question. Here is a small account of the history of the Jack-o’-lantern.
The history and use of the Jack-o’-lantern comes from Ireland. When the Irish immigrated to America, they brought the history and the traditions of their homeland with them. The Jack-o’-lantern was one of those traditions (History.com).
Did you know that originally the Irish carved their Jack-o’-lanterns out of turnips, potatoes, and even squashes. This is because those crops were more prevalent in Ireland. It wasn’t until the Irish came to America that pumpkins began being used to make Jack-o’-lanterns. Pumpkins quickly became the favorite crop for Jack-o’-lanterns because of their size, which make pumpkins much easier to hollow out and carve designs into (About.com).
But why carve into pumpkins or any other crop in the first place? The making of Jack-o’-lanterns comes from the Irish folk tale of Stingy Jack.
In short, the story goes that Stingy Jack was a trickster. So much so that he was even able to trick the Devil. He tricked the Devil into promising that when Jack died he would not take his soul. Despite his agreement with the Devil, Jack still died. But when he got to Heaven, St. Peter wouldn’t let him in. He said Jack was too mean of a person, and sent Jack to Hell. But when Jack got to Hell, the Devil wouldn’t let him in either because of his promise to never take Jack’s soul (History.com).
So Jack was forced to wander the Earth. But before Jack left the gates of Hell, the Devil tossed him a burning ember to light his way across the world. Jack took the ember and placed it inside a turnip and thus made a lantern (About.com).
And now instead of carving out turnips, we carve up pumpkins in memory of this Irish folk tale.
For further reading on the history of the Jack-o’-lantern, check out these great articles:
Yes, we love pumpkins! Because we love them so much, we take the utmost care with our pumpkins. We grow them and we sell them to you: simple and old-fashioned. So this fall when you’re drafting up your Jack-o’-lantern design, we’ll have all the great big pumpkins you’ll need to make this Halloween season your favorite season.
So come out to see us at the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia, Illinois. Our family can’t wait to meet your family.