It’s almost Halloween! That means that many people are going out to a pumpkin patch to pick out the pumpkins they are going to carve. A tradition that involves a fun, sloppy mess with dissecting a pumpkin and drawing on it. Then taking a knife and carving right into the pumpkin to make a happy face. But, did you know that the face on the pumpkin is not supposed to be happy. Growing up, I did like to put a happy face on my jack-o-lantern when it was being carved. Even today, there are stencils of smiling cartoon characters who are beloved by children for a fun jack-o-lantern. But, a jack-o-lantern is originally supposed to be a scary face.
Back in Ireland, the ancient Celts used to carve faces into a turnip to scare away evil spirits. Yes, before there was a pumpkin, there was the use of a turnip or a form of squash for the use of a jack-o-lantern. On, what we know now as, Halloween, the Celts believed that all spirits would come back from the dead, this included the evil ones. Jack-O-Lanterns were made to scare away the evil spirits that would come back on All Hallows Eve. Jack-O-Lanterns, may be a fun tradition today, but to the ancient Celts the tradition of carving a turnip and/or squash was to make sure evil spirits stayed away.
In honor of the Jack-O-Lanterns, I decided to look up a few fun facts on pumpkins:
- They are a fruit that is technically a berry.
- Pumpkins originated in South America
- Morton, Illinois claims to be the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”
- In 2010, the largest pumpkin ever weighed was 1,810 pounds from Stillwater, Minnesota
- Pumpkin is high in fiber with Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein and iron. They are also low in calories.