What is the connection between pumpkin and Halloween?
The pumpkin is a staple thing during Halloween but have you ever wondered how this tradition started?
Since time immemorial, people have been celebrating Halloween using this variety of winter squash as decorations. Over the years, this fruit, from a botanist’s perspective (commonly, people would call this vegetable), has become a symbol of Halloween.
Where did this tradition start? Based on the article in FLD, this tradition was started in Ireland. Irish has the tradition to scare evil spirits by using vegetables.
The 31st of October is the pagan feast of Samhain, which is believed to be the time when the spirits of dead people return to the world. Eventually, this was known as the Halloween. They had to find ways to drive the evil spirits away and they started cutting faces into turnips to scare the evil spirits.
When Irish people migrated to the United States of America in the 19th century, they brought this tradition with them. They happened to have encountered a new “vegetable” in the US and it is called pumpkin. This is harvested in fall and it is easier to curve faces than using the turnip.
Ireland also started the term Jack O’Lantern for a Halloween pumpkin. Legend says that a man named “Jack” managed to overtake the devil. It was said that Jack prevented the devil from taking his soul. The story apparently, did not end well.
According to the legend, Jack had been evil, stingy and selfish during his life. Because if this, he was denied entry to heaven when he died. However, he was not summoned to hell and so his soul was doomed to wander for eternity. With this, people started curving faces on vegetables to keep Jack away from their homes.
Another popular thing during the Halloween is the bat. For some people, the flying mammal is not scary at all. There are even places ideal for bat watching.