MaaMaa & Tankene

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jack O' Lanterns

Aye- have you ever wondered where the tradition of carving a pumpkin came from? According to Irish mythology, there was once a greedy, cruel man named Jack who fooled the Devil twice! Stingy Jack was so cheap that he asked the Devil to turn into a sixpence and Jack would pay their bar bill. Stingy Jack pocketed the coin and placed it next to a silver crucifix. The devil couldn't change back into his original form until he agreed to leave Jack alone for the next year. So the devil agreed and left Jack alone. Stingy Jack kept up his drinking and carousing. One dark evening, the devil appeared along Stingy Jack's path and once again was fooled by his lies. " Go up in the apple tree devil and bring us a nice juicy apple" said Jack.The Devil foolishly slithered up the tree and picked some fruit. Meanwhile Stingy Jack carved a cross at the foot of the tree and the Devil was stuck! This time Jack made him promise to leave his soul alone for ten years if he wanted to get down from the tree. Well once again, the devil was forced to agree. Less than ten years passed and Jack's drunkeness caught up to him and he died a miserable death. St. Peter wouldn't let him in through the pearly gates because Stingy Jack was a miserable, cruel, worthless being beyond redemption.The devil had made the promise back at the apple tree and couldn't let Jack into Hell but he took pity on Stingy Jack and tossed him a burning ember from the depths of Hell. Turnips being plentiful in Ireland, Jack placed the hot coal inside a turnip and carved out a face. Jack was left to wander the world for the rest of eternity. When the Irish immigrated to America they found the native pumpkin and began carving " Jack O' Lanterns" to place at their front doors on all Hallow's Eve to ward off the evil spirits.As for Stingy Jack... he's a wandering spirit on his never-ending journey caught between Hell and Heaven. So now you know why we carve pumpkings on Halloween!

1 comment:

cinnamongirl said...

I love this story. I would love to see more lore and correlative histories linked to common food/gardening practices. Roots of tales always intrigue me.

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