The Story Behind the Halloween Pumpkin

The origins of Halloween

Let’s just recap this part real quick. It is a custom that came to be from the Celtic pagan rituals in the celebration of the harvest. Today it is mostly celebrated as an entertainment festival that includes masking in mythological characters such as witches, vampires, ghosts, zombies and other darkish creatures and of course the pumpkins!

No small part of Halloween celebration goes to the director John Carpenter, who recorded the ‘Halloween’ horror movie.

The pumpkin story

This is an interesting one. Everyone who has ever heard of Halloween knows about the carving of pumpkins. This custom is based on Irish legend about Jack the blacksmith (hence the name Jack-o’-lantern).

Several centuries ago amongst towns and villages in Ireland, there lived a man called ‘Stingy Jack’. He was a drunkard known for his deceptions and manipulations, and the devil unconvinced and envious overheard the rumors and went to find out about this vile Jack for himself.

When the devil came, Jack thought that it was the end of his time and he made his last request: he asked Satan to let him drink an ale before he departs to Hades. Satan, seeing no reason not to grant him his request took him to the local pub and supplied him with alcoholic beverages. Upon finishing, Jack asked Satan to pay the tab and convinced him to metamorphose into a silver coin to pay the bartender. Satan, impressed with Jacks wicked request, did as he asked. When the devil turned into a coin, Jack quickly put him away into his pocket which contained a crucifix and its presence kept the devil away from turning back. Jack then struck a deal to free the devil and in return demanded to be granted another ten years to walk the earth.

Ten years later, when the devil came again, Jack managed to fool him once again. This time he requested an apple to feed his starving belly. The Satan foolishly agreed and upon climbing a tree to fetch Jack an apple, Jack quickly surrounded the tree base with crucifixes and entrapped the devil again. Satan, quite frustrated, demanded to be released. Jack Agreed to release with one demand – to never be taken by Satan into Hades.

Jack continued on with his life until the end of his days, and when the time came for him to enter Heaven’s gates, he was stopped by God and told that he was not allowed into Heaven because of his foul life he was leading. Jack had no other way to go but to Hades. He demanded and begged for commission into the underworld, but when he came, the devil could not take his soul because of their deal and instead gave Jack a turnip with an ember inside and from that day on, until the end of eternity, Jack is doomed to roam between the planes of good and evil, with only an ember inside a hollowed turnip to light his way.

There are quite a few different versions of how Jack-o’-lantern came to be, and this is one of them.

Happy Halloween :)!