Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jack-O-Lantern Season


They are appearing everywhere.

Pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns.

At stores, on doorsteps, almost everywhere imaginable.

We even have one on our doorstep to welcome people to the house. Or is it guarding the place to keep intruders and evil away? It is hard to know.

While we think of Halloween and its relationship to Jack-o-lantern pumpkins as uniquely American, sadly, it is not so. Jack-o-lanterns originally began in Ireland and turnips or potatoes were used the carve the scary faces. After the pumpkin was discovered in America, that became the vegetable of choice for obvious reasons.

If you have never heard of story of Stingy Jack, click the link above and read it--it is fascinating. Apparently, according to tradition, Jack went toe-to-toe with the Devil and won--or so it seemed.

Probably most people have no idea where the Jack-o-lantern tradition originated--in an Irish turnip.

But now, pumpkins are everywhere to keep Stingy Jack's wandering spirit as well as other evil spirits away.

Our Jack-o-lantern is fabricated. I'm not sure it is endowed with the same protection powers. But it is part of the seasonal tradition. And it makes me smile. And we can reuse it annually--which I like.

And they are everywhere it seems.

So, if you see Stingy Jack's spirit wandering on your front lawn, make sure you light your Jack-o-lantern to keep him and his evil friends away from your doorstep.
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