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Why do we use pumpkin Jack-O-Lanterns during Halloween?

Oct 03, 2019 07:20PM ● By Ed Helmick

Why pumpkin Jack-O-Lanterns during the Halloween season, you might ask. It goes back to East England and Irish folklore about a village drunk, thief, and sinful character named Jack.

He bargained with the devil to stall his death and when he finally died, he was too sinful for heaven and Satin didn’t want him in Hell. He was sentenced to wander the earth in darkness.

Satin threw him a burning piece of coal to light his way.

Jack placed the burning chunk of coal in a carved out turnup. He became known as Jack of the lantern or Jack-o-lantern. There are several renditions of the story in different parts of Europe, but they are all similar and the Jack-o-Lantern was to ward off demons.

The Jack-o-Lantern folklore came to the United States from Irish and East England immigrants.

In North America Pumpkins were a symbol of the fall harvest and their large, round shape made them more attractive to carve than the traditional turnup of the old country. Jack-o-Lanterns have now become a yearly Halloween tradition in the United States. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)