05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Favorite Halloween Symbol

My Favorite Halloween Symbol
My husband and I love to grow pumpkins. Even if there is nothing else in the garden, I have to have my pumpkins.

The seed is like the beginning of a story. It is a glimmer of what it will become. With planning and nurturing the story grows as does the pumpkin. Upon harvesting or completion the pumpkin is used in various ways, pie, bread, decoration or jack-o-lanterns. The story when harvested is sent out to be represented or published.

After doing a little research, I’ve found some interesting facts about pumpkins:

“Did you know………
· Pumpkins are made from 90% water?
· Pumpkins are really squash, which is actually a fruit, but is most commonly used as a vegetable when cooking?
· Pumpkins were once recommended to cure snake bites and freckles?

· Pumpkins are grown all over the world, except Antarctica where the climate is too cold?
· Pumpkin seeds that were found in caves in Mexico were dated back to about 7000 BC?
· The Native Americans were among the first to grow pumpkins?
· The Irish began the tradition of carving pumpkins and brought the tradition to America? They originally carved turnips, but once here found that pumpkins were much easier to carve.”
(Published in the Londonderry, NH paper)

The reason the Irish carved turnips and squash and eventually pumpkins into lanterns is an interesting tale. The original Jack was a drunkard, mean and stingy towards the town folks. The legend goes that one day he caught the devil up an apple tree and surrounded the tree with crosses. Jack did not let the devil down until the devil promised to not take his soul when he died. The devil promised, and Jack let him down. Soon Jack died and he couldn’t get into heaven and the devil wouldn’t let him in. Jack said he needed a light to find his way and the devil tossed him an ember from hell. Jack carved a turnip and put the ember into it. The Irish would carve potatoes, turnips and gourds to keep evil spirits away on Hallows eve and keep stingy Jack away. After the Irish immigrated to America during the 1800's they began the tradition of carving pumpkins.
Legends are a great source for that unusual little seed for a story. H-m-m, I’ve found several in this legend.

What is your favorite Halloween symbol and/or what “seeds for a story” have you found in a legend?


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Dianna,
That was really interesting about the humble pumpkin being around for so long. Here in Australia we don't celebrate Halloween with the fervour that you do in America.



Paty Jager said...

Fun information, Diana! Can you imagine carving a turnip?? I barely have enough patience for a pumpkin.

Sarah Raplee said...

Have turnips shrunk over the years??? lol Clever Irishmen!

Pumpkins are my favorite Halloween symbol, too.

Some say there's always an element of truth in legends. Interesting thought in regards to Jack, don't you think? (shiver)

Diana Mcc. said...

Margaret how do you celebrate Halloween in Australia?

No, Paty, I can't imagine carving up a turnip! The Irish must have really wanted to keep the evil spirits away, to be so industrious.

Sarah I think there is always an element of truth, otherwise, how do these legends get started? From a seed of truth?

Judith Ashley said...

Fun post, Diana. Since I celebrate Samhain instead of Halloween, my favorite symbol of the season is the wise woman/healer/crone.

Diana Mcc. said...

Judith the wise woman/healer/crone is an awe inspiring symbol. I believe there is a little bit of her in all of us women.

Brenda said...

Love your post. I'm a nut for Halloween. I love anything pumpkin--whether it's decorating with pumpkins or eating pumpkin pie (or pumpkin cake/bread/cookies).

Thanks for sharing!


Diana Mcc. said...

Thanks for stopping by, Brenda. Me too, I love HALLOWEEN.

Tam Linsey said...

I haven't carved a pumpkin in years, and this made me want to indulge. Wonder if my teens would go for it...
I only grow the small pie pumpkins - bet they would still be easier to carve than a turnip!