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  • The Origins of Pumpkin Carving

    With the 21st of October being known internationally as ‘National Pumpkin Day’ it seems apt to look into the origins and history of one of our Autumn traditions; pumpkin carving. This activity is something that has grown over the last few decades and has now become a staple annual activity that all little ones look forward to.

    There are now many pumpkin patches in the UK where you can go to pick your own perfect pumpkin before taking it home to carve in time for Halloween; adding to the activity and enjoyment.

    It is believed that the custom of making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween time began in Ireland. In the 19th century turnips or mangel wurzels, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces, were used on Halloween in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. In fact, the name, jack-o'-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack.

    Stingy Jack is a man who tricked the Devil for his own monetary gain. When Jack died, God didn’t allow him into heaven, and the Devil didn’t let him into hell, so Jack was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. In Ireland, people started to carve demonic faces out of turnips to frighten away Jack’s wandering soul. When Irish immigrants moved to the U.S., they began carving jack-o’-lanterns from pumpkins, as these were native to the region.

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