An old Irish tale tells of a man, Stingy Jack, who as a young man tricked the devil. After his death he tried to get into heaven but was refused. The devil would not allow him to enter the lower world either. He threw Jack a hot ember. Jack caught it in a turnip. The light from the hot coal cast a beam though the places where Jack had been eating. According to tradition Jack is still carrying the turnip as he wanders over the earth searching for a place to live.
The term Jack-O-Lantern was actually first used by the people of England. They referred to it as a means of describing an eerie light which often appeared over a marsh or a bog.
When the Irish came to the New World they found pumpkins growing. Their round shape and brilliant orange color made them perfect to create Stingy Jack’s lantern! As the years went by they carved strange and unusual focus on the pumpkins and placed candles inside of them to resemble Jack’s shining ember.
Children today enjoy creating weird and wondrous faces on their pumpkins for Halloween!
- written by LaDawn Jacob
- picture from allrecipes.com