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How Jack O' Lanterns Came About

Sep 1, 2007
Halloween cannot do without jack o' lanterns. A jack o' lantern is a pumpkin whose interior has been removed and whose walls has been thinned out. It is carved into different designs with a light placed inside it. If brilliantly carved, the jack o' lanterns will evoke lifelike images within the mind of a close observer. That's why a lot of people enjoy them, placing them in the porches at the front of their houses visible for passersby. There are many carving competitions all over America open for jack o' lantern enthusiasts. In fact, these contests are the main event in most districts during Halloween.

How to make a jack o' lantern is just as interesting as its custom that seemed to have sprung out of an Irish folklore. And as the tale goes along, it is about a man named Jack who is not your usual kind main character. He was known to be infamous, let alone a chronic drinker. But he was just as intriguing as any other hero. The lore tells that Jack, one day, deceived the devil and trapped him up a tree. The devil, now his prisoner, appealed to Jack for his release. The wise Jack made a decision but not without a condition. He gave in to the devil's request for freedom with the promise that he will not be permitted to go inside hell when he dies.

Then Jack's time came. Because of his bad deeds, he was declined entry by heaven. Because of the previous agreement he had with the devil, he was not accepted into hell. Jack had no choice but to continue his search for a resting place. Scared of the cold darkness, he cored out a turnip and placed an ember inside it that way the paths he had to take will be well-lighted and the light would burn longer.

In observance to this tale, carving out a turnip and placing a light inside it became a habitual practice of the Irish people. They used turnips for a long time. However, a major change occurred when they migrated to America in the 1840s in their effort to flee from Ireland's potato famine. They switched from turnips to pumpkins because the latter fruit appeared to be more bountiful than the former, not to mention that pumpkins have a more ideal shape to contain light and have insides that's very easy to remove. Since then, jack o' lanterns were made out of pumpkins.
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