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Tradition of Carving Pumpkins

We have all carved pumpkins, but why? The tradition of carving pumpkins started in Ireland. Irish people carved all sorts of veggies like turnips, gourds, pears and potatoes. Burning lumps of coal were placed inside the lanterns and were eventually replaced by candles. They illuminated windows from October 31st to sunset the next day to honor deceased relatives and friends. To some, Halloween was the most magical night of the year but that was not the case for everyone.

Some people placed their carved lanterns in windows to keep evil spirits at bay.  One spooky Halloween tale is about the original Jack O’ Lantern. He was not a pumpkin but a person that loved to play pranks, even with the Devil. One day he tricked the Devil to climb up a tree. Meanwhile, sly Jack placed crosses around the base of tree so the devil could not come down. Only when Jack took a promise from the Devil that his soul would not be taken away when he dies, he allowed the Devil to come down. But some say the Devil was fueled with revenge, and not just against Jack.

Irish immigrants brought Halloween Tradition to the U.S. It was here they discovered our native vegetable, pumpkins. Pumpkins and pumpkin carving is still the number one symbol to represent Halloween. Whether you believe in the evil spirits associated with the holiday it is a day that brings friends and family together with enthusiasm and joy. 

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