Stingy Jack

Today is the University Union Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest and it made me think about  the connection of Halloween and Jack o’Lanterns.


I didn’t know much about the history of the Jack O’Lantern so I looked it up and here is what I found:

People have been making jack-o-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns. (courtesy of the history channel)

Click Here to see some amazing jack o’lanterns

What is the most amazing carved pumpkin you have ever seen?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Travers Swan on October 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve seen some crazy things on the internet. Some of those things were indeed carved pumpkins.


  2. Posted by Stephanie Williams on October 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    me and my ex boyfriend make a carved pumpkin that look like mickey i think that’s the craziest one i have seen


  3. Posted by Lindsey Taflinger on November 3, 2009 at 12:43 am

    There were some crazy huge carved pumpkins at the state fair this year! They were awesome!!


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