- The origin of the Jack-o-lantern is debated over, and there are many legends and stories on how the Jack-o-lantern first came to be. I am going to share the most believed stories on how the Jack-o-lantern originated.
- First I am going to tell you the one that I believe the most. Halloween/Samhain is the time where the veil between the living and the dead is at it's thinnest, and that gives spirits the opportunity to walk the earth (visit families etc.). Anyway, the Jack-o-lantern custom originated from the lighting of candles for the dead to follow as they walked the earth. These candles were placed in hallowed out gourds and put on the ground to light the way.
- Another story comes from an Irish Myth about a man named 'Stingy Jack'.
- Stingy Jack and the Devil enter a pub to have a drink. Jack convinces the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. But instead of using the coin, Jack slipped it into his pocket and next to a silver cross. The cross prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. But Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year. And if Jack should die during that year, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil agreed to these terms.
- Jack again tricked the Devil. This time, the Devil climbed into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down. Once again, Jacked struck a bargain with the Devil. He would free the Devil from the tree if he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years. And if Jack died during those years, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil again agreed to these terms.
- Not long after this, Jack did indeed died. But because of his trickery, God would not allow him into heaven. In keeping his word not to take his soul, the Devil also would not allow Jack into hell. Instead, the Devil sent Jack out into the darkness of the world between worlds with nothing but a burning piece of coal. Jack placed the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. The Irish began to refer to Jack's ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply as "Jack O'Lantern."
- The Irish and Scottish people began making lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away the wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets were used. Immigrants from these countries brought the tradition to America where they found the pumpkin, a fruit native to America, that made the perfect jack o'lanterns.
- Pretty cute story, but it doesn't give us the history of the Jack-o-lantern. Oh well, besides the history, carving pumpkins ia one of my favorite traditions. The past few years I carved cats into the pumpkins, but this year I wanted to do something a bit different.
- First I hollowed out my pumpkin.
- I drew the face I wanted to carve, and started to carve it out.
- I did the same with a little gourd. I call them baby pumpkins.
- And here it is, my big pumpkin is eating my little pumpkin.
- Oh No!!!
My fiance carved a cat.
And a little lantern
Jack-o-lanterns on the front stairs.