Carving pumpkins is one of the most practiced Halloween traditions. From celebrity faces to practically art, Halloween pumpkins have been transformed into probably whatever one can imagine.
However, the original carved pumpkin was not even a pumpkin; it was a turnip. Why was it a turnip? Well, this tradition originated in ancient Ireland where pumpkins did not exist just yet. Nowadays, we carve pumpkins instead of turnips simply because they are much easier to carve. Furthermore, the original Jack-O-Lanterns were not used just for fun and decoration, instead they had a much more important purpose and it was to ward off evil spirits. Every Halloween, people of ancient Ireland would carve turnips and place an ember in them for protection from evils beings on the other side. The original carved turnips were not as festive as today's orange pumpkins. In reality, they were actually a lot more terrifying. Well, I guess, they had to serve their purpose.
LEGEND OF THE JACK-O-LANTERN
Hundreds of year ago, there was a man named Jack. Jack was an old drunk who enjoyed playing tricks on pretty much everyone: his family, friends and even the Devil himself. One day, he decided to trick the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. When the Devil climbed up, Jack placed crosses all around the tree making the Devil stuck up there since he was not able to touch the crosses. However, Devil got mad and threatened that he will take Jack's soul after his death. Jack begged the Devil to change his mind. Finally, the Devil promised not to take his soul as long as he lets him down the apple tree. Jack agreed and moves away the crosses allowing the Devil to climb down.
Many years later, Jack died and his soul went to the Gates of Heaven. However, he was not good enough to enter the Heaven. That's when Jack's soul went to Hell. However, the Devil was keeping his promise from years ago; he will not take Jack's soul. Now, Jack had nowhere to go. He was destined to wonder the Netherworld for all eternity. Netherworld was forever pitch black and all Jack had with him was his favorite food which he always carried with him, a turnip. Scared, he asked the Devil how could he see since there was no light. The Devil than tossed him an amber from the flames of Hell to help him light his way. Jack carved the turnip and put the ember inside. From that day onward, Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack-O-Lantern.
...One more day till Halloween...
Thanks for a read!