People across the globe celebrate Halloween every October 31 with a wide range of traditions. And among lots of ways to make the day more memorable, carving pumpkins is always considered to be one of the most popular and favorite Halloween activities. Pumpkins, for a long time, have been regarded as a symbol of Halloween Day. But have you ever wondered why is pumpkin used on Halloween? There are interesting stories about the history behind pumpkins and this fall holiday.
Do you know why is Pumpkin used on Halloween?
Why is pumpkin used on Halloween?
To understand why is pumpkin used on Halloween, let’s get to know about the lantern carving tradition of the Celts and the history of Jack-o’-Lanterns!
The carving of a lantern tradition of the Celts
Why do we carve pumpkins on Halloween? The history of Halloween is known to date back to an ancient Celtic holiday named Samhain. This was a holiday celebrated at the end of summer to honor the deceased. According to Celtic people’s belief, from dusk on October 31 to the dusk of November 1, the souls of those who died that year would pass on. It was also the time when many ghosts would be present.
Why Pumpkin is used on Halloween Day?
People would put carved jack-o’-lanterns on porches and in windows to ward away evil spirits. However, there was no use of pumpkin at that time. Celts’ creations were mainly from carved beets, turnips, or potatoes with burning lumps of coal inside them to add light.
History of the Jack-o’-Lantern
To learn why is pumpkin used on Halloween, it’s important to discover the history of the Jack-o’-Lantern tradition. The term “jack-o’-lantern” is known to date back to an Irish myth about Stingy Jack, who played tricks on the devil.
When he died, Jack was denied entrance into both heaven and hell. This forced him to roam the world as a ghost. But when the devil refused to let him into hell, he gave Jack a burning ember. Jack carved out a turnip to put the ember in it so it would give him light. From that time, Jack was a ghost that carried a lantern made from a carved turnip.
Why is pumpkin used on Halloween – History of the Jack-o’-Lantern
To frighten away Jack’s wandering soul, the Irish carved scary faces on turnips and placed a burning piece of coal inside every year.
Gradually, they replaced the burning coals with candles. Currently, people even have a new way to light the lantern. They apply a battery-operated candle or a flashlight inside the jack-o’-lantern.
Do you know how Jack-o’-Lanterns became associated with Halloween Day? As we’ve discovered, Halloween is based on the Samhain festival.
In the 8th century CE, the Roman Catholic Church decided that All Saints’ Day would be celebrated on November 1, meaning that Halloween would be on October 31. Traditions from Samhain kept unchanged. The folklore about Jack was fast incorporated into Halloween and we’ve been carving pumpkins—or turnips—ever since.
How did Jack-o’-Lanterns come to America?
While studying why is pumpkin used on Halloween, you might wonder how the Jack-o’-Lanterns appear as a popular tradition in America when the occasion comes around. It is said that early Irish immigrants to America were those who brought the tradition of making a jack-o’-lantern at Halloween to this country.
The Irish would place the carved turnips by their doors and windows, wishing those lanterns would protect them. However, when the Irish came to America, they found that pumpkins in this country were more available. In addition, they could also make better jack-o’-lanterns than turnips.
Why is pumpkin used on Halloween – How Jack-o’-Lanterns came to America
Believe it or not, the majority of the 1.5 billion pounds of fresh pumpkins in America are sold for Halloween every year. Thus, we can understand how much the annual consumption of pumpkins for Halloween is.
When it comes to Halloween, pumpkin carving is also popular in many other countries such as England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe.
How are pumpkins used on Halloween?
There is no question that carving pumpkins is the first and also most popular way to use pumpkins on Halloween. However, we can find many other interesting ways to use pumpkins on this occasion. While the original purpose of the jack-o’-lantern tradition was to scare away evil spirits, people today make modern carving pumpkins for entertainment.
Why is pumpkin used on Halloween Day?
We get used to carving faces onto the pumpkins. However, people today also find many other ways to carve pumpkins in different designs. For instance, students might follow a specific pattern to carve the name of their school on a pumpkin.
Besides, there are many pumpkin-carving contests and pumpkin-throwing contests organized when it comes to Halloween Day. These are all outstanding activities that attract the participation of many people.
Why is pumpkin used on Halloween – Use pumpkin in home decor
Currently, carved pumpkins are also used as main decorations in houses, schools, or any other place. There are great ideas to decorate pumpkins for the holiday. If you don’t want to carve pumpkins, you can paint them or add some sparkle with glitter to bring highlights to your house.
In addition, you can completely use pumpkins to make delicious dishes for a Halloween party. For a long time, pumpkins have been a favorite food of many people. It is a good source of potassium, vitamin A, and other nutrients. You can use pumpkins in pies, bread, cakes, cookies, soups, as well as other foods. Besides, pumpkin seeds can be roasted or dried for eating. Pumpkin blossoms can also be applied in different recipes.
That’s all about why is pumpkin used on Halloween! Are you ready to welcome a new Halloween season with creative pumpkin decorating ideas? In your excitement to celebrate Halloween Day, it would be much more precious when you can find a great Halloween gift to surprise your loved ones as well as find interesting activities to make the day memorable. And above all, we wish you and your family a Happy Halloween!